18 New Deaths and 1,473 New Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County

LOS ANGELES, Calif. Dec 1 – With the recent detection of Omicron in Northern California, residents and businesses are concerned about the implications of a more infectious variant on safety and business operations. And while the impact of Omicron is uncertain, it is clear there are immediate action steps everyone can take to protect each other and slow transmission.

Vaccines remain the most effective tool and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) encourages everyone 5 and older not yet vaccinated or boosted to do so with a sense of urgency. The vaccines are effective against the Delta variant and very effective against earlier strains of the virus, which gives us hope that these same vaccines will also provide some protection against Omicron.

Given that there continues to be substantial transmission of COVID-19 and while teams are working to determine how effective the vaccines are against Omicron, all residents and workers need to be sure to adhere to vaccination verification and masking requirements and wear a mask when indoors or at large outdoor mega events regardless of vaccination status. Public Health strongly recommends individuals to wear a mask when at any crowded indoor or outdoor event.

Testing is an important tool in early detection of infection to reduce spread and Public Health encourages residents who have traveled for the holidays to get tested if they traveled internationally or to locations in this country with high transmission rates, or they participated at gatherings and events with large numbers of people, some of which may be unvaccinated. Residents are reminded that they are legally required to isolate if they have a positive COVID test result and that vaccinated close contacts with symptoms and unvaccinated close contacts need to quarantine.

The Public Health lab is coordinating with the state lab for the identification of Omicron with specimen testing. Currently, anywhere between 1,500 to 5,000 positive specimens from L.A. County residents are sequenced each week with results reported to both L.A. County and the state. Public Health will continue to rely on the network of commercial and public health labs to ensure that the County is receiving a representative assessment of the prevalent variants in L.A. County. To date, the Public Health lab has not identified any presence of Omicron in any sequenced specimens. The Delta variant remains the predominant variant accounting for almost all sequenced specimens.

Today, Public Health confirmed 18 new deaths and 1,473 new cases of COVID-19. Of the 18 new deaths reported today, seven people who passed away were over the age of 80, five people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79, two people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64, and two people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49. One death was reported by the City of Long Beach and one death was reported by the City of Pasadena. To date, Public Health has identified 1,528,586 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 27,184 deaths.

There are 562 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized. Testing results are available for more than 9,434,000 individuals, with 15% of people testing positive. Today’s test positivity rate is 1.7%.

“To everyone experiencing the sorrow of losing a loved one to COVID-19, please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you every day,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “While the spread of Omicron across the globe is worrisome, we have both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions at hand to respond to the emergence of a new variant of concern. We can reduce transmission by getting vaccinated, wearing masks, keeping our distance and avoiding crowds, testing and quarantining. Every action we take now to reduce spread will help.”

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and are recommended for everyone 5 years old and older to help protect against COVID-19. Vaccinations are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status. Appointments are not needed at all Public Health vaccination sites and many community sites where first, second, and third doses are available.

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