Los Angeles County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer believes that if COVID-19 cases continue to rise, the county could return to the high level of transmission as soon as next week, which would mean the return mandatory indoor masking in places like restaurants, bars and schools.
“We would be back to saying our health care system is stressed, we need to slow transmission,” Ferrer said at a press conference on Thursday.
She also announced that the county is moving from low to medium levels of transmission as cases and hospitalizations rise.
LA County has now reported more than 2,700 cases per day or 188 cases per 100,000 population per week.
Health officials said the county would reach high levels of transmission if reporting increases to 200 cases per 100,000 population per week.
“We’ve had more people reporting positive COVID tests to us after returning from Thanksgiving than ever before, so there’s a lot of transmission,” Ferrer said.
Hospitals have also seen an influx of children affected by the coronavirus.
At Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, COVID positivity jumped 2.8% from October to November with 1 in 4 children admitted to the intensive care unit.
“I’ll tell you, I’m definitely pushed to the limit,” Valencia Pediatrics pediatrician Dr. Neela Sethi told KTLA’s Pedro Rivera.
Dr Sethi said she had seen a winter surge of COVID fill emergency rooms and hospital beds and that did not include children hard hit by RSV and influenza.
“Our emergencies are completely overwhelmed. There are no hospital beds. Emergency room wait times are four to five hours. So what we’re saying to parents is contact us, let us help you with supportive care,” Sethi said.
That’s why, according to Sethi, doctors asked parents to watch their children closely before bringing them in for treatment.
“If they feel like they are getting very sick overnight and struggling to breathe or if they look very tired and they are not eating, drinking fluids, they don’t sleep as well, so that warrants a trip to the ER. “, said Sethi.
As of Thursday night, county public health officials have been strongly recommending people wear masks indoors and urging residents to get vaccinated to protect themselves from more severe COVID symptoms.
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