May 27, 2022

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‘Big spike’ in California’s coronavirus outbreak brings new warnings

Palisades Charter High School students ride the after-school Expo streak on April 21. (Ginaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

Coronavirus cases are likely to worsen, as case rates continue to rise and hospitalizations begin to increase, according to the top health official for the most populous San Francisco Bay County.

“We are also seeing a very large increase in reports of outbreaks, from schools, worksites and other facilities,” Dr. Sarah Cody, Santa Clara County Public Health Director and Health Officer, She said At a press conference Tuesday. “A lot of it is related to social gatherings. It’s spring – school ends and people gather, the Covid epidemic is spreading.”

Particular caution should be exercised as it became apparent that the latest circulating Omicron sub-variant could reinfect those who survived the first strains of the Omicron variant again in December or January. Experts said the first Omicron variant, BA.1, will likely confer immunity against the newer variant, BA.2.

But some experts say that BA.1 survival may not confer a high probability of avoiding infection with a newer variant, BA.2.12.1, which is more contagious than BA.2.

“Even if you get an Omicron during an Omicron boost, you can still get the COVID virus again, unfortunately,” Cody said.

She urged that unvaccinated people be vaccinated, get boosters if they qualify, wear masks in indoor public spaces, get tested if you think you have been exposed or have contracted the disease, gather outdoors, or if you are indoors, open windows or increase ventilation. . .

The Bay Area has the highest rate of coronavirus infection in California, nearly twice the rate of Southern California. The trends here could provide early warning for other parts of the state, as was the case earlier in the pandemic.

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“What we’re seeing now is similar to what we saw in mid-February, which is more than what we’re seeing at the height of the delta surge” from last summer, Cody said. “And we’re just starting to see some early signs so far that this may translate into a slight increase in hospitalization.”

In Santa Clara County, home to Silicon Valley, coronavirus cases have tripled in the past month, from a rate of about 80 cases per week per 100,000 residents to a rate of 227 cases per week per 100,000 residents. This exceeds the maximum increase achieved by the delta last summer of 203 cases per week per 100,000 residents.

A rate of 100 or more is considered a high transmission rate, the worst category as defined by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

California has seen the rate of coronavirus cases rise to about 8,000 a day over the past week, an 18% increase from the previous week’s average of 6,800 a day. It’s the highest case rate since the end of February, as California was reversing its first increase in Omicron, but unlike Santa Clara County, the state hasn’t passed its delta peak last summer. On a per capita basis, California as of Monday is reporting 144 cases per week per 100,000 residents.

The rate of cases in the Bay Area was much higher than the overall statewide rate. The Gulf region has had a weekly infection rate of 226 coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents, an increase of 14% over the previous week.

The number of hospitalizations with coronavirus cases has increased by 10% over the past week, from 1,093 to 1,203. In Santa Clara County, hospitalizations with coronavirus have tended to rise in recent days, up 7% over the past week, from 103 to 110 .

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Cody urged residents to take precautions to avoid infection.

“Even though these new variants spread very quickly, and because of that, it becomes more and more difficult to prevent infection, it is still beneficial to prevent infection. That is because if you are sick, you will miss work, you will miss school, and you may reveal someone else who will not It works well with COVID.”

“If you get sick with the COVID virus, you are at risk of contracting COVID for a long time, which you don’t really want to have,” Cody said. “And as difficult as it may be, I still want to stress that trying to stop him in the first place is still a good idea.”

The rate of coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County is also on the rise.

According to data published Tuesday, Los Angeles County has averaged 2,554 cases per day over the past week, up from 2,054 cases per day for the previous week, and an increase of 24%. The rate of cases in Los Angeles County was 177 cases per week per 100,000 residents.

Hospitalizations in Los Angeles County have ranged from about 210 to 270 hospitalizations for the coronavirus over the past month.

“So far, increases in case numbers have not translated into increases in severe disease, with hospitalizations and deaths remaining low and declining,” the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a statement Monday. “The lower number of hospitalizations and deaths, in large part, reflects the protection that vaccines provide against variants.”

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However, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer warned residents to continue taking precautions in light of the high rate of transmission of the coronavirus.

“This month, there will be plenty of opportunities for gatherings, including graduations, prom parties, and upcoming Memorial Day feasts,” Ferrer said in a statement.

“In order for these events not to contribute to the increasing prevalence of Omicron variants, we encourage attendees to take reasonable precautions that will protect you and those around you, including staying outside as much as possible and wearing a mask indoors,” Ferrer said.

Ferrer said it would also be wise to conduct rapid coronavirus tests before gathering, “given the large number of asymptomatic infected individuals.”

“Importantly, older adults and those with underlying health conditions should make sure they get a boost once they qualify for increased protection against these highly contagious and mutated variants of concern,” Ferrer added.

This story originally appeared Los Angeles Times.