Photo: FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP / Getty Images
Hospitalizations for COVID-19 are increasing in California as the variant spreads Omicron, combining with a wave of the Delta variant that reflects that Another surge in new coronavirus cases is looming that could affect the state’s health system.
There were 3,915 COVID-19 patients in state hospitals as of Saturday, according to data from the state Department of Health.
Some Southern California counties have experienced larger jumps, with an increase in hospitalizations of nearly 31% in Los Angeles County and approximately 26% in Riverside County during the same period, according to the Los Angeles Times, which has its own count of cases and hospitalizations.
California had recorded 49 cases of the Omicron variant as of Wednesday, although not all samples are sequenced to identify coronavirus variants.
That’s much lower than the 184,700 identified cases of the Delta variant, which remains dominant in the state, but health officials expect the number of cases to rise.
The Omicron variant of coronavirus is believed to be more contagious than the Delta variant and more easily evades immunity generated by vaccines or previous infections, although experts say the vaccines still offer protection against serious diseases caused by COVID-19 and the death.
The majority of Omicron cases in California have been registered by Los Angeles County with a total of 38, and where 3,730 new cases of the coronavirus were reported on Saturday, the highest single-day total in months and more than double the number of new cases reported Wednesday.
Orange and Riverside counties reported their first recorded cases of the Omicron variant on Friday.
In Orange County, the variant was found to have infected a fully vaccinated man who had recently traveled outside of California and had experienced a mild illness, public health authorities said.
“While things are definitely not going in the direction we want, we have more tools to help protect ourselves this year than we did at this time last year, but we urgently need to use them,” said the county health director, Barbara Ferrer.
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