LOS ANGELES – LA County continues to experience high transmission rates with more than 200,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past 7 days, the highest number of cases in a week since the start of the pandemic .
Hospitalizations have also doubled in one week to reach 3,200 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19, and more than 20% of those tested are positive for COVID-19. Health officials stress that it is important to note that although the number of cases is higher than the peak last winter, when LA County was recording around 16,000 new cases of coronavirus per day, many people become less seriously ill because of the milder effects of Omicron a variant.
Exceptions include people who are not vaccinated, especially children and those with serious health problems. As the highly contagious omicron variant sweeps the world, once again threatening to overwhelm hospitals and already exhausted healthcare workers, medical staff prepare for another damaging battle, Stars and Stripes noted.
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health urges residents to replace their masks with medical-grade masks that better block COVID-19 virus particles and to reconsider their participation in high-risk activities, including activities indoors where individuals are unmasked for long periods of time, as well as crowded outdoor events.
“As the wave continues, we call on residents and businesses to continue to follow public health safety measures that we know are reducing the spread and keeping people safe,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of public health. “This includes wearing a medical grade mask which is more protective against the Omicron variant and not spending time with other unmasked people. These improved masks can be a surgical mask or an N95 or KN95 breathing mask. “
Governor Gavin Newsom on Saturday unveiled a proposed $ 2.7 billion COVID-19 emergency response plan – including a request for $ 1.4 billion emergency funds – to build capacity testing, speeding up vaccination and recall efforts, supporting frontline workers, strengthening the health system and combating misinformation.
The governor’s budget also calls for new legislation to implement additional paid sick leave policies given the current situation driven by the Omicron variant to better protect our frontline workers.
“From day one, California has taken swift and direct action to fight COVID-19 with policies that have saved tens of thousands of lives, but there is still work to be done,” Newsom said. “Our proposed COVID-19 emergency response package will support our testing capacity, accelerate vaccination and recall efforts, support frontline workers and health systems, and fight misinformation, putting the focus on hardest hit communities. “
Governor Newsom’s global package includes:
$ 1.2 BILLION: BOLSTER TESTS
- Increase hours and capacity at test sites statewide to help slow the spread.
- Distribute millions of COVID-19 antigen tests to local health departments, community clinics, and county education and schools offices. This is critical to the state’s operational readiness and continued efforts to combat COVID-19, and it includes a request for emergency credit of $ 1.4 billion from the legislature for immediate California needs. .
- Support state testing facilities, including sample collection and increasing capacity to meet demand.
- Support state departments to test their staff and bring populations together
$ 583 MILLION: GET MORE VACCINATED AND BOOST CALIFORNIANS, FIGHT BAD INFORMATION
- Continue the “Vaccinate All 58” public education campaign to provide reliable information and build confidence in vaccines while combating misinformation, all in partnership with 250 ethnic media outlets.
- Pursue a strong campaign of community awareness and direct assistance with appointments by carrying out door-to-door approaches, telephone banking and SMS with more than 700 community organizations and community partners in partnership with philanthropy.
- Home vaccination and testing programs to meet Californians where they are.
- Provide free transportation to immunization appointments statewide to help immunize and boost more Californians.
$ 614 MILLION: SUPPORT OUR FRONTLINE WORKERS AND OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS
- Support and distribution of essential personnel resources for health systems to protect frontline workers, patient care and hospital surge capacity, as well as additional personnel for vaccination sites.
200 MILLION DOLLARS: SUPPORT STATE RESPONSE OPERATIONS
- Resources to improve state public health and emergency response capabilities, including staffing and information technology at the California Department of Public Health, Office of Emergency Services and the Emergency Medical Services Authority.
110 MILLION DOLLARS: SUPPORTING VULNERABLE POPULATIONS AND STRENGTHENING CONTACT RESEARCH EFFORTS
- Increased public health and humanitarian efforts at the California-Mexico border to ensure the safety of migrants, including vaccinations, testing, and isolation and quarantine services.
- Extensive statewide contact tracing activities to help keep Californians safe and slow the spread.
Newsom activated the California National Guard on Friday to support local communities with additional testing facilities and capacity amid the nationwide increase in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant.
This new action is in addition to the 6,000 existing test sites that have been set up statewide, the recent demand-dependent hours extension at state-run sites and the 9.6 million tests that the state has distributed to schools since the beginning of December.
The announcement comes as Omicron continues to spread rapidly across the world, accounting for at least 80% of COVID-19 cases in California. The National Guard plan will deploy more than 200 Cal Guard members to 50 Optum Serve sites across the state, providing interim clinical staff while permanent staff are hired, adding appointment capacity, assisting with screening crowds and replacing staff absences – all in an effort to conduct more testing for more Californians. Additional members of the Guard will be deployed next week in similar capacities.
These steps will bolster California’s already strong testing program – the largest in the country. Currently, 90% of Californians live within a 30-minute drive of a site. In the midst of the outbreak, the state was able to maintain a 48-hour deadline for PCR testing.
To date, California has administered nearly 67 million doses of vaccination and more than 122.7 million tests.
The Los Angeles Times reported that LA County recorded 43,712 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday – the highest on a day in the pandemic. The previous record, 37,215, fell on Thursday. Those numbers are well above the average daily peak last winter, when LA County saw about 16,000 new cases of coronavirus per day.
Across California, emergency rooms are under strain as they grapple with both the growing number of cases and people seeking coronavirus tests – all as their workers are increasingly on call. most affected by the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.
On Saturday morning, the New York Times reported that the rate of new daily coronavirus infections has nearly doubled over the past week, surpassing two million known cases per day, underscoring how quickly the Omicron variant has spread throughout the world. the world.
On April 25 of last year, the global average peaked at over 827,000 cases, a level that has been surpassed in each of the past 12 days as the curve of cases around the world shows an almost increase. vertical.
Health authorities around the world have reported 2.1 million cases on average over the past seven days, nearly three times more than two weeks ago, according to a New York Times database. The latest wave of cases was sparked by outbreaks in the United States and Europe, where the Omicron variant has become dominant.