LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Los Angeles County set another daily record with 45,584 positive COVID-19 tests Sunday, continuing a winter surge in transmission driven by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
On Friday, health officials reported a then-record 43,712 new infections, and on Saturday they said the county had seen more than 200,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past 7 days, the highest number in one week since the beginning of the pandemic.
The record numbers seem driven in part by increased testing. The county's rolling average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 20.6%, up from 20.4% on Saturday, but down from 22.7% last Monday.
Overall, 10,317,000 individuals have been tested, with 18% of people testing positive to date, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
The department also reported an additional 13 deaths associated with the virus Sunday, bringing the county's cumulative totals to 1,967,443 cases and 27,785 fatalities since the pandemic began.
The deaths may reflect an undercount in weekend reporting.
Officials are urging residents to reconsider attending high-risk activities, including indoor activities where individuals are unmasked for long periods of time, and crowded outdoor events.
"As the surge continues, we ask residents and businesses to continue following the public health safety measures that we know reduce spread and keep people safe," Ferrer said Saturday. "This includes wearing a medical grade mask that is more protective against the Omicron variant and not spending time around others who are unmasked. These upgraded masks can be a surgical mask or an N95 or KN95 respirator mask."
Meanwhile, the number of COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals climbed to 3,364, according to the latest state figures. The number of those patients in intensive care was 435 -- up from 411 Saturday, 391 Friday and 352 Thursday.
Many of the COVID-positive patients entered the hospital for another reason and only discovered they had the coronavirus after a mandated test, according to local officials. And while still well short of the peak hospitalization numbers seen last winter -- when more than 8,000 COVID-positive patients filled hospitals -- the rising number is still generating concern.
Health care facilities are finding themselves increasingly short-staffed, in part because of COVID infections among health care workers.
According to the county health department, 973 infections among health care workers were reported over the past week, a jump of 47% from the prior period. That rise comes despite the relatively high rate of vaccinations among health care workers -- showing the power of the Omicron variant of the virus to infect even vaccinated residents, although they are less likely to become severely ill.
The state is requiring all health care workers in the state to receive a booster dose of vaccine by Feb. 1. Those who do not receive the booster must be tested twice weekly.