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California coronavirus cases rise, signaling latest wave has yet to peak

An increase in coronavirus cases has been detected across California over the past week, confirming warnings from some officials that the latest wave of the pandemic has yet to peak.

Across California, health officials reported an average of about 16,700 new coronavirus infections per day for the week ending June 9 — a 21% increase from the previous week, according to a Times analysis of State data released Friday.

This 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 United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The official case tally is also almost certainly an undercount, as many people are testing themselves using home coronavirus tests, the results of which are not reliably reported to health officials.

The crush of cases also continues to send growing numbers of coronavirus-positive patients to California hospitals, though the take-home message from this metric remains mixed.

For one, 2,716 such people were hospitalized statewide on Sunday, an increase of about 26% from two weeks ago.

On the other hand, the number of patients remains well below the heartbreaking peaks seen earlier in the pandemic. In fact, the hospital count has yet to reach the level seen during the gap between last summer’s Delta wave and the first Omicron surge that hit fall and winter.

Officials are also quick to note that many of those included in the hospital count are not necessarily being treated for COVID-19. But too many coronavirus-positive patients in hospitals, whether sick specifically from the COVID-19 disease or accidentally testing positive, are straining resources because of the extra safety procedures needed to prevent the virus from spreading. propagate.

“We must remain vigilant and cautious,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement Monday. “This includes layering protections to keep the most vulnerable people safe, including wearing masks indoors, testing before congregating or attending events, and staying home if you are sick. .”

Getting vaccinated and boosted, when eligible, also helps prevent infection – and continues to provide strong protection against serious illnesses, experts say.

Masks have also been the focus of the latest hike, even though officials have mostly held back from reinstating requirements that they must be worn in many places.

The California Department of Public Health, for example, strongly recommends, but does not require, that everyone mask up in indoor public places, including businesses, public transportation, and transportation hubs.

However, in some counties and schools — including Alameda County — officials have reintroduced public indoor mask mandates in response to rising infections and hospitalizations.

Ferrer said LA County would do the same if it entered the CDC’s “high” COVID-19 community level. This category, the worst on the agency’s three-tier scale, indicates not only that there is significant community transmission, but that hospital systems may become strained due to the demands posed by coronavirus-positive patients.

The CDC recommends universal indoor public masking for counties at the high COVID-19 community level.

LA County remains at the “medium” COVID-19 community level for now. The CDC updates its county assignments weekly.

As of Thursday, more than 67% of the U.S. population lived in an area with medium or high COVID-19 community level, according to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

“As new areas transition to medium and high community levels, it’s important to know your community level” and what precautions may be needed, she said. wrote on Twitter In Monday.

For mid-tier counties, federal health officials recommend residents consider masking based on their personal risk.

Ferrer noted that LA County requires masks in certain settings — including on public transit — and that “we continue to strongly recommend indoor masking in all other locations.”

“We urge people, if you test positive, to call your provider, to call us, to access this treatment opportunity if it’s right for you, because it will help keep people from going to hospital,” he said. she recently told reporters. “But most important, try to add some protection so you don’t inadvertently catch or spread COVID.”

Los Angeles Times

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