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L.A. Sees Significant COVID Increase in Communities of Color
By Danny J. Bakewell, Jr. Executive Editor
Published December 23, 2021

Community leaders encourage everyone to continue taking precautions

(Courtesy photo)

Community leaders are encouraging adults and children alike to remain vigilant in their steps to avoid contracting the COVID-19 virus.  While a large number are vaccinated, a large portion of the community remains un-vaccinated.  Los Angeles health officials also remind everyone that “just because you are vaccinated does not make you immune to the virus, only that the severity of the breakthrough may or may not require hospitalization.”

Health officials expect Omicron cases to increase throughout Los Angeles County over the next several weeks, given that this variant strain is far more resilient and infectious than the Delta variant and better at evading immunity generated by vaccines or previous infections.

Los Angeles County health officials reported 3,512 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, more than double the number of cases recorded just a few days before.

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The 3,730 new cases reported in L.A. County as of Saturday is the highest single-day report in months.  Health officials are concerned that with the winter holidays in effect and family gatherings on the rise, an upcoming surge in cases is imminent.  The Omicron variant, which is highly contagious, presents a greater concern for college students and holiday travelers in general.

There were 3,557 COVID-19 patients in the state’s hospitals as of Saturday, an increase of roughly 13% from two weeks before, according to The Times’ hospitalization tracker. On Sunday, L.A. County reported that 742 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, and nine people died from the virus.

Dr. Elaine Batchlor, president of Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital wants the community to make their health a priority during the holiday season.

“As we head into the holidays, we are seeing an increase in COVID cases associated with the highly infectious Omicron variant. It is important for us to remain conscientious about masking and social distancing as we gather; even more so if we plan to celebrate with family or friends who have not been vaccinated. The most precious gift we can give our loved ones this season is to get vaccinated, boosted, and avoid spreading Covid,” stated Dr. Batchlor.

Another concern is that local businesses are seeing a serious outbreak amongst their employees.

Only 49 cases of the Omicron variant have been reported in California as of Wednesday, and 38 of those cases were in Los Angeles County, which is far less than the current 184,000 Delta variant cases identified throughout California.  The goal is to quell the Omicron and Delta variant’s momentum with collective ownership of responsibility and consciousness to follow stringent safety practices.

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While early reports indicate that the Omicron variant may cause less severe illness than other variants, hospitals are still concerned with absorbing overcrowded facilities and strained resources.  If enough people are infected, health officials say these outbreaks will come at a time when the medical system is already facing multiple challenges, including significant staffing shortages.

There is also an increased demand for more complex healthcare services, such as surgeries and various procedures that were rescheduled due to the pandemic or traditional colds and the flu.

Local sporting events, concerts, and other public events have also been affected by the recent outbreaks, including the Rams home game being moved from Sunday to Tuesday because of players testing positive or teammates being required to enter into pandemic protocols.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are predicting that there could be as many as 1,000,000 new cases of the Coronavirus within the Christmas week, double the number of cases that were reported just six weeks ago, just around Halloween.

To some of up what health officials are urging, for Los Angeles to get through this latest round of the pandemic with businesses opened, schools in session, and some semblance of our “new normal,” the community must take the proper precautions to avoid the spread.  As families celebrate the holidays with loved ones, remember to wear your mask and gather outdoors whenever possible.  This is what we all need to do to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.

Categories: COVID-19 | News
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