Today, 102 deaths from Covid were reported in Los Angeles, the highest overall figure since March last year. This is still well below the 290 deaths recorded in January last year, but the trend line is not very good.
County Health Director Barbara Ferrer said today that the number of new Covid-related deaths has doubled in the past week. She also reported that 90% of the new deaths estimated today are related to people who contracted Covid after Dec. 24, “indicating a high probability of being infected with the Omicron variant,” which has become almost ubiquitous among those infected in Los Angeles. late last year. .
Cases related to the current surge began to jump around this time, increasing from about 9,000 on December 24 to more than 33,000 on December 28, an increase of more than 300 percent in just four days. They peaked at around 55,000 earlier this month, well above last year’s high (around 22,000). Today the number of cases was 42,115.
Compared to December 24, the number of hospitalizations increased by 467% to 4,814 patients with Covid, who now occupy beds and 723 are in intensive care. The number of Covid hospitalizations first began to grow rapidly between December 26 and January 3, when the number of hospitalized patients infected with Covid doubled from 1,000 to 2,000.
The number of deaths, which were mostly below 30, jumped to 45 on January 13 and rose 126% for the week.
If the outbreak of cases was indeed related to Omicron, and the recent increase in hospitalizations and then deaths are the result of this outbreak, this may indicate an unexpected aspect of Omicron: while patients in the past were hospitalized 2-3 weeks after the first if they are infected and die 1-2 weeks after that, they are now in the hospital 1-2 weeks and die 2 weeks after that.
“It seems to us that people can progress faster – people who have Omicron – so we see much shorter deadlines [from infection to death]”Ferrer said. “It looks like they’ve been hit hard before.”
In the case of the Delta option, she noted, it usually took 5 weeks before the infected people died. With Omicron it looks like 2-4 weeks.
According to the Associated Press, Omicron seems to be playing much more efficiently than competing options. ” This is likely to mean higher viral loads and greater transmission, possibly earlier.
“A lot of people get positive on the third day,” said Dr. Amy Carger of the University of Minnesota Medical School, citing Omicron. “Basically, there’s an opportunity to catch people sooner than with other options.” This also means that the virus cycle from infection to solution can be accelerated with the new option.
Although Omicron seems to be less harmful than Delta, its fast transfer rate and resulting in a huge number of cases still dominate hospitals.
“Hospitals are pretty close to the overall census they achieved during last year’s surge,” Ferrer said, tying that total to 16,000 patients. Ferrer said the increase in the number of patients with Covid is putting a strain on hospitals, although about half of them have been hospitalized for non-virus reasons and found to be infected only when admitted. Be that as it may, the number of patients hospitalized in the county is almost the highest of all time, with about 20 to 25% of them covid-positive. And an ensemble of forecasts from the state of California predicts that tensions will get much worse before they get better.
The state-run CalCAT model predicts that Covid-related daily hospitalizations in Los Angeles will rise from the current 4,814 to a peak of more than 7,800 by Feb. 2.
The current and projected shortage of staff has led the state to announce today that it has recently launched a “program to support the emergency department”.
A peculiar burst of sorting, the program “provides a place and medical staff to help unload and treat patients delivered to the emergency department by ambulance.” According to a statement from government health officials, the program is designed to speed up “patient unloading times” and “patient care, allowing ambulances to quickly return to emergency response work.” The state says 15 such programs are now in place across the state.
What’s more, the release says, “the state supports 188 facilities across the state with 3,048 health workers. To support the hospital system and the needs of patients, the state has increased the number of staffed hospital beds by 1,343.
Ferrer said there were signs that the surge in cases could at least decrease: “Although the number of cases and the positive test results are extremely high, there is a slight decrease compared to last week,” Deadline reported this week. “The average daily number of new cases is now about 33,000 cases a day. Test positivity fell slightly last week to about 17%, meaning that nearly one in six people taking the test is infected with Covid. The average daily incidence for seven days also fell slightly to about 350 new cases per 100,000 population.
And if Omicron is making faster progress from detecting to resolving cases, it could mean the numbers are falling equally fast.
“It used to take weeks for cases to decrease, for cases to decrease,” Ferrer said. “When [the progression is] rather, we can see a faster decline. ”