Covid is surging: cases and hospitalizations climb

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com

Los Angeles County may be headed toward another full-blown surge in coronavirus cases, according to new data Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Driven by new subvariants, Los Angeles County’s case rate has risen to 185 new infections per 100,000 people, which moves the county into the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s medium level designation for COVID-19 spread.

At the same time, the number of Covid-positive patients in local hospitals has risen dramatically over the past few weeks. As a result, public health officials strongly recommend that people get the new bivalent booster, which has proven to be very effective at preventing severe infections.

For the first three days of last week the county recorded 8,322 cases. This week that number has risen by 16%, to 9,889 cases from Monday to Wednesday.

It’s not all bad news from the county as the case positivity rate — a key indicator of the how widespread the current surge has become — has risen only modestly over the past week from 12.5% last Thursday, December 1 to 13.6% on Wednesday, December 7.

Currently only 16% of county residents have received the new booster. This, combined with Thanksgiving gatherings, is driving the current surge, officials say. Only 30% of people over 65, who are the most vulnerable to extreme illness and death from Covid, have received the updated booster.

“All residents should follow common sense precautions that work to prevent transmission of respiratory viruses, including wearing a high-quality mask that fits well in indoor public spaces and getting the new updated Fall COVID-19 booster,” public health officials said in a news release.

According to L.A. County Public Health, the updated Fall COVID-19 boosters, plus flu vaccines, are readily available at public health sites, pharmacies, and other locations across the county.

In Claremont, eligible residents — those over five years old who have not had a coronavirus vaccine in the last two months — can schedule an appointment at a local pharmacy, including Hendricks Pharmacy at hendrickspharmacy.com/covid19.

Seniors and residents who can’t easily leave their homes can contact Public Health telehealth services at (833) 540-0473, seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. to arrange for at-home booster shots or to arrange transportation to a vaccination center.

On Wednesday, December 7 L.A. County Public Health recorded 5,051 new cases and 12 deaths. There are currently 1,293 people hospitalized with COVID-19.

Claremont recorded 121 new cases this week for a cumulative total of 9,493, and one more resident has died from COVID-19, bringing the city’s total to 100 deaths.

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