The number of the new COVID-19 infections tripled in Long Beach this week, while area hospitalizations have doubled as the COVID-19 omicron variant continues to surge.
Long Beach on Monday reported 1,413 new cases over the weekend, up from 403 new cases reported the previous Monday. Long Beach also reported 105 people are hospitalized in area, more than double from last week.
Other indicators have also inched higher. The number of people testing positive increased to 5%, up from around 2.8% last week, while the rate of new cases per 100,000 residents more than doubled to 39.
In Los Angeles County, the number of people in hospitals with COVID-19 surpassed the 1,000 mark for the first time since late September, echoing a sharp upward trend in infections and a dramatic increase in the rate of people testing positive for the virus.
According to state figures, there were 1,069 COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals as of Tuesday, up from 966 on Monday.
The increase is being closely watched by public health officials concerned that hospitals, which expanded capacity to handle COVID patient numbers that topped 8,000 last January, are less equipped to cope with such an intense surge this winter due to various factors, most notably understaffing.
The county rate of people testing positive for the virus is also rapidly rising. According to the county Department of Public Health, the seven-day average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus rose to 14.5% as of Tuesday.
One week ago, the rate was 3%, while on Nov. 22, it was 0.9%. The increase is attributed to the highly-contagious omicron variant of the virus that can even impact people who are fully vaccinated, though health officials say they are far less likely to become severely ill.
On Tuesday, the county reported another 9,473 new COVID infections, bringing the cumulative pandemic total number of infections to 1,632,893.
Another 22 virus-related deaths were also reported, raising the county’s death toll to 27,576. Long Beach on Monday reported one new death for a city total of 1,068.
“… While we all wish that 2022 would begin without the continued tragedy of serious illness and death associated with COVID, we are instead facing the prospect of an alarming surge that requires every person to act with intentionality: get vaccinated and boosted, get tested, and please, always wear a mask around others,” County Heath Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement Tuesday. “These are the tools we have to try to keep each other safe over the holidays.”
City News Service contributed to this report.