L.A. County officials are concerned about the uptick in COVID-19 cases since most restrictions were removed on June 15

By Jessica P. Ogilvie/LA

Originally published Dec 26, 2021

L.A. County public health officials reported 8,891 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and 11,930 on Saturday, Christmas day. Officials also announced seven new deaths on Sunday and 849 people hospitalized.

The number of cases and deaths are likely to reflect reporting delays over the holiday and the weekend.

These reports come as experts warn of an impending surge and a rapid increase in cases locally. There were 6,509 new cases on Dec. 22, reflecting a doubling overnight. At that time, Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County’s public health director, called it a “staggeringly fast rise”.

“These numbers make it crystal clear that we are heading into very challenging times over the winter holidays,” she said. “If our case numbers continue to increase at a rapid pace over this next week, we could be looking at case numbers we have never seen before, well over 20,000 cases a day by the end of this year.”

The good news is that as of now, hospitalizations are not surging, which experts say means that people who contract the virus are not getting as sick as they once did, whether because of the vaccine or the COVID strain they contract.

Meanwhile, the county is increasing its testing sites, and the federal government is enacting a plan to mail at-home testing kits to anyone who wants one, beginning in Jan. 2022.

This report is reprinted with permission from Southern California Public Radio. © 2021 Southern California Public Radio. All rights reserved.

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