Public Health fears start of winter surge

Coronavirus. Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control

Health officials fear the beginnings of a winter surge as they received COVID-19 data from the week of Thanksgiving showing an increase in cases and hospitalizations. 

The county’s daily average COVID-19 case rate is more than 13 new cases per 100,000. The Centers for Disease Control estimated the county’s weekly case rate is 113 new cases per 100,000, meaning there’s a high level of transmission across the county, according to Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. 

“We started to see an increase in cases again,” Ferrer said. “Hospitalizations are also creeping up and are close to 600. Although, deaths are holding steady at about 10 a day. We do expect increases to continue on the heels of our Thanksgiving gatherings.” 

Ferrer said all increases in cases are worrisome. Now that the CDC classified the county in a tier of high transmission, there’s a lot of risk for these numbers to grow, she added. 

“I’m never going to downplay what’s going on when we start seeing these increases. We all know it results, unfortunately, in a higher number of people who end up in the hospital and (possibly) tragically passing away,” Ferrer said. 

Although Public Health officials are worried about the coming months, Ferrer said the county is in a better place to handle challenges. 

“I want to thank everybody who’s gotten vaccinated and boosted because that’s definitely making a difference,” Ferrer said. “It particularly is making a difference in preventing us from experiencing the devastating crisis we had in our health care system.” 

Ferrer is urging residents to take advantage of the county’s tools to get a COVID-19 vaccine or booster, and receive information from health officials. 

“Please don’t wait any longer. The boosters are essential. It adds an additional protection. We want more people to use testing. We didn’t have access to all this testing last year. So please make good use of testing,” Ferrer said. “And lastly, we cannot take off our masks when we’re indoors. It is a vital layer of protection.” 

Public Health officials also released the following updated COVID-19 statistics Thursday: 

Countywide COVID-19 cases reported in the past 24 hours: 1,718 

Total COVID-19 cases in L.A. County: 1,541,866 

New deaths related to COVID-19 reported in the past 24 hours: 15 

Total COVID-19 deaths in L.A. County: 27,288 

Hospitalizations countywide: 667 

Hospitalizations at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital as of Dec. 6: 11, with 1,663 discharged since the onset of the pandemic. 

COVID-19 cases were reported in the Santa Clarita Valley in the past 24 hours: 72, 56 of which came from the city of Santa Clarita 

Total COVID-19 cases in the SCV: 39,497 

Total COVID-19 deaths in the SCV as of Dec. 6: 365 

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