As coronavirus hospitalizations stabilize in LA County and state, officials brace for new surge

Coronavirus hospitalizations in both Los Angeles County and
across the state have stabilized amid the pandemic’s worst surge
yet — but officials don’t believe that will remain the case for
long.

There were 7,926 LA County residents being treated in hospitals
for the virus on Monday, Jan. 11 — according to the state’s
dashboard, which updates a day earlier than the county’s —
about the same number that’s been reported each day over the last
week. On average, between 750 and 800 people are being admitted to
LA County hospitals with the virus each day.

At the state level, there were 21,668 coronavirus
hospitalizations on Sunday, Jan. 10, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced
— about a 6% growth rate over the last two weeks, which is
“among the smallest increases we’ve seen over a two-week period
in some time,” he said, adding that the growth rate over the past
week has been just 0.3%.

But LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer and Newsom
both emphasized in Monday briefings that they expect a surge from
gatherings over Christmas and New Year’s Eve could still be
coming.

“We haven’t continued to see the steep acceleration,”
Ferrer said. But “we might be entering into another period of
surge and, should we start seeing again case numbers rise to 15,000
a day, we will have another experience like we had before at our
hospitals where they will see increased occupancy, as well.”

Newsom, meanwhile, said the hospital bed availability in
Southern California — and Los Angeles County in particular —
remains precarious. Intensive care bed capacity in the region, as
it has for weeks, remained at 0% on Monday.

“Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley continue to be
the hotspots for the state,” he said, “particularly Southern
California in the San Bernardino, Riverside and, notably, LA
areas.”

On Monday, LA County reported 12,617 new coronavirus cases,
bringing the total number identified so far to 932,698. And 137
more Los Angeles County residents died due to coronavirus-related
causes, contributing to a death toll of more than 1,500 over just
the past week. Throughout the entire pandemic, 12,387 LA County
residents have died with the virus.

Even as hospitalizations have stabilized for now, the countywide
numbers being reported still represent an 884% increase since the
beginning of November, Ferrer said. Cases, meanwhile, have grown
898%, and deaths have spiked by 1,125%.

Looking ahead, Ferrer said the county’s vaccination program is
progressing. As of Sunday, Jan. 10, 180,174 vaccine doses had been
administered, which included 25,840 second doses.

About 75% of the county’s frontline health care workers have
been vaccinated, Ferrer said, while 67% of staff members at skilled
nursing facilities and 66% of residents at those facilities have
been inoculated.

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Assuming the county receives enough vaccine doses from the state
and federal governments, Ferrer said officials expect to begin
vaccinations for people in Phase 1B — which will begin with those
75 and older before moving on to include people from ages 65 and
74; those who are incarcerated or homeless; and workers in certain
industries like critical manufacturing and transportation and
logistics — in early February.

If all goes according to plan, then vaccinations for Phase 1C
— which includes people from ages 50 to 64, people from ages 16
to 49 with underlying health conditions and people in industries
like defense, energy, communications and IT — will begin in late
March, Ferrer said.

The county’s ability to administer vaccines to more groups and
meet those projected timelines has been due in part to Newsom’s
push to speed up inoculations across the state.

“We recognize that the current strategy is not going to get us
to where we need to go as quickly as we all need to go,” he said
Monday, “so that’s why we’re speeding up the
administration.”

He pointed to recent announcements of large-scale vaccination
sites, such as
converting Dodger Stadium from a testing to an inoculation
facility
.

“This is encouraging, and this is, again, part of that
flywheel, and I know it can’t go fast enough,” he said. But,
Newsom added, the efforts will help “that last mile for
administration. Get it out of the freezer and into people’s
arms.”

Source: FS – All – Interesting – News 2
As coronavirus hospitalizations stabilize in LA County and
state, officials brace for new surge