The City of West Hollywood is issuing a COVID-19 update to get the word out that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is confirming one of the steepest rises in the COVID-19 case count seen over the course of the pandemic, reflecting increased circulation of Omicron and the associated rapid acceleration of transmission associated with this variant.
Today, LA County Public Health confirmed 8,633 new COVID-19 cases. This follows a COVID-19 update yesterday, on Wednesday, December 22, 2021, in which LA County Public Health confirmed 6,509 new cases, 162 additional Omicron cases, and 16 additional deaths from COVID-19. The County test positivity rate has now risen to 6.6 percent; one week ago, the test positivity rate was 1.9 percent. The number of cases reported today represents nearly triple the reported case count just two days ago on Tuesday, December 21, 2021, when the case count was 3,052.
“The Los Angeles County Public Health Department director has noted that we may be looking at case numbers we have never seen before,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister. “The best protection we have against COVID-19 infection is to get vaccinated, get boosted, and be vigilant in testing and in mask use. Very high case numbers across the region may impact our health care system if additional people require hospitalization and it’s up to all of us to do what we can to take steps to safeguard our health and one another.”
Officials from LA County Public Health are reminding community members about the importance of getting vaccinated, getting boosted, getting tested, and masking-up; these remain critical while facing a surge.
According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health:
- Boosters help restore high levels of COVID-19 protection, similar to the levels offered two weeks after the second dose of the vaccine. According to LA County Public Health data, between December 5 and December 11, fully vaccinated people with boosters were 20 times more protected from infection versus only 4 times more protected for fully vaccinated without boosters, as compared to unvaccinated people.
- Testing is also critically important since it helps identify potential sources of transmission before they come into contact with high-risk individuals.
- Masks are also very important as they provide a good physical barrier against the virus, and help prevent people from both getting infected, and from inadvertently spreading infection. Given that Omicron is spreading quickly, it’s also best to consider upgrading to a medical-grade, surgical, or KN95 mask when in close contact with others.
Vaccines are available for everyone age 5 and over. In addition, the CDC is strengthening its booster recommendations and is encouraging everyone 16 and older to get boosted. Data continues to affirm that, for the general population, fully vaccinated people are well protected from severe infections with both the Omicron and Delta variants. While there is evidence that a small number of fully vaccinated individuals can become infected and contribute to community spread, most new cases and hospitalizations are those who remain unvaccinated. For up-to-date details, including links to book an appointment if you are in a group being actively vaccinated, please visit www.VaccinateLACounty.com. For people without access to a computer or the Internet, or people with disabilities, an LA County call center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. to help schedule appointments at (833) 540-0473.
Testing is important for people who develop symptoms, even if fully vaccinated and boosted, and testing is recommended for travelers 3-5 days upon arriving-in or returning-to California from other states or countries. It is also a good idea to get tested in advance of gathering for holiday celebrations. COVID-19 testing remains widely available across LA County. Residents should first call their healthcare provider for a COVID-19 test. For people who cannot get a test through a healthcare provider, free testing is available. For additional information, please visit https://covid19.lacounty.gov/testing. Los Angeles County coordinates a COVID-19 West Hollywood testing site at Plummer Park, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard. The testing site is open each week from Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and is adjacent to the Community Center in the South Parking Lot. Tests are being administered by Fulgent Genetics and advance appointments must be made at la.fulgentgenetics.com. People getting tests should bring ID and confirmation number to the appointment.
Additional information, such as links to West Hollywood-area drug store chains offering vaccinations, is available on the City of West Hollywood’s website at www.weho.org/coronavirus in the Vaccines and Testing Information section.