LA Covid up 78% in 4 days despite no signs of hospital admissions jumping – Deadline

A week after The angel thrown away the last of his covid Restrictions, LA officials are concerned about the spread of the more contagious BA.2 Variant, a surge in cases and looming school and religious holidays.

“While outbreaks remain low in many sectors,” the county health department said Friday, “gatherings for Ramadan, Passover, Easter and Spring Break could eventually lead to more cases and outbreaks.”

The good news is that despite the rising case and test positivity numbers, the new variant and recently lifted restrictions, hospitalizations and deaths are showing no signs of increasing.

The region’s 7-day test positivity is up 50% since Tuesday, from 0.8% to 1.2% today. This kind of jump in the 7-day moving average is worth noting, even if the percentages are still very low.

Cases have increased even more. As of Tuesday, LA County reported 708 new cases. Today the number was up 78% to 1,263 new cases, up from 1,088 yesterday.

“This increase in cases is likely due to the more transmissible BA.2 subvariant, which continues to increase in LA County,” said a LADPH statement.

The number of new cases in the county has risen rapidly this week, even as the number of daily tests has fallen. This is generally a strong indication of increasing transmission in a region. Last Friday, the district tested around 110,000 people every 24 hours. Today that number had dropped to just under 90,000 tests a day.

Meanwhile, the BA.2 omicron variant – believed to be 10% more transferrable than the already more transferrable original Omicron become dominant in the region. City officials reported Thursday that BA.2 accounted for 47% of all cases in the county that underwent special testing to identify Covid variants, but said the percentage is likely higher as the data reflects cases from two weeks ago . Recent CDC data supports this.

This week’s center variant share monitoring dashboard showed that in the tri-state region made up of California, Nevada and Arizona, BA.2 now accounts for 75% of all tests that are genomically sequenced to determine causal variant. See graphic below.

Map showing the proportion of BA.2 cases (in pink) compared to that of the original Omicron (in purple).
CDC

Barbara Ferrer, LA County Public Health Director expressed some concerns this week about the recent increase in school breakouts. The county reported a total of 14 cases over the past week, including one case that Ferrer described as “one of the biggest outbreaks since the pandemic began, I think, at a K-12 school.”

Regardless of the size of this single outbreak, Ferrer said, “we’ve more than tripled the number of new infections [school] outbreaks this week.”

The increase correlates with the spread of the BA.2.

covid

LADPH

However, Ferrer noted that the test positivity rate on school campuses still remains very low — below the statewide rate.

“So when you see the increase in outbreaks, it means there’s more transmission in schools than there has been in the past,” she noted, stressing that with a more virulent variant and fewer protective layers, there will be more transmission.

“I know people hate these masks, but these masks have really helped,” Ferrer said. “As we see more outbreaks in schools, we need to see that and not dismiss it, not say, ‘No, I’m never going to put those masks on again.’ We will add layers of protection if necessary.”

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