A surge in coronavirus cases has been noted across California for the past week, confirming warnings from some officials that the latest wave of the pandemic is ongoing.
Across California, health officials reported an average of about 16,700 new coronavirus infections per day in the week ended June 9 — a 21% increase from the previous week, according to a Times analysis of state data released Friday.
That equates to 298 weekly cases per 100,000 Californians. A rate of at least 100 cases per 100,000 is considered a high transmission rate according to criteria established by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The official case count is also almost certainly underestimated, as many people self-examine at home with coronavirus tests, the results of which are not reliably reported to public health officials.
The bulk of cases continues to send increasing numbers of coronavirus-positive patients to California hospitals, although the takeaway message from that metric remains mixed.
On the one hand, 2,716 such people were hospitalized nationwide on Sunday – about 26% more than two weeks ago.
On the other hand, patient numbers remain far from the staggering spikes seen earlier in the pandemic. In fact, the hospital count hasn’t even reached the levels seen during the gap between last summer’s delta wave and the first Omicron wave of fall and winter.
Officials are also quick to note that many of those included on the hospital list are not necessarily being treated for COVID-19. But too many coronavirus-positive patients in hospitals, whether they specifically have COVID-19 disease or have tested positive by chance, are straining resources due to the extra safety measures needed to prevent the virus from spreading.
“We must remain vigilant and cautious,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement Monday. “This includes layering protective measures to keep those most vulnerable as safe as possible, including wearing masks indoors, testing before gathering or attending events and staying home if you are sick. “
Getting vaccinated and kept up-to-date also helps ward off infection — and continues to offer strong protection against serious illnesses, experts say.
Masks have also been a particular focus during the recent uptick, although officials have largely stopped reinstating requirements that they be worn in many places.
The California Department of Health, for example, strongly recommends but does not require that everyone mask up in indoor public places, including businesses, on public transportation, and at transportation hubs.
However, in some counties and schools — including Alameda County — authorities have reinstated mask requirements for indoor public spaces in response to rising infections and hospitalizations.
Ferrer said LA County would do likewise should it enter the CDC’s “high” COVID-19 community level. This category, the worst on the agency’s three-point scale, indicates not only that there is significant community transmission, but that hospital systems may be strained due to the demands placed on them by coronavirus-positive patients.
The CDC recommends universal indoor public masking for counties with high COVID-19 community levels.
LA County remains at the “intermediate” COVID-19 community level for now. The CDC updates its district assignments weekly.
According to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, more than 67% of the U.S. population lived in an area with a moderate or high level of COVID-19 community as of Thursday.
“As new territories shift to mid- and high-level community levels, it’s important to know your community level” and what precautions might be needed, she said wrote on Twitter on Monday.
For mid-level counties, federal health officials are recommending residents consider masking based on their personal risk.
Ferrer noted that LA County requires masks in certain settings — including on board public transit — and that “we continue to strongly encourage mask use indoors in all other locations.”
“We urge people, if you test positive, call your provider, call us, access these treatment options if it’s right for you because it will help keep people off the hospital.” , she recently told reporters. “But most importantly, try to add some protection so you don’t accidentally get or spread COVID.”
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-06-14/california-coronavirus-cases-rise-showing-wave-has-not-yet-topped-out California coronavirus cases rise, signaling latest wave has not yet crested