Covid-19 outbreaks at workplaces have soared dramatically in latest weeks in response to rising group transmission, Los Angeles County well being officers mentioned right this moment, warning that employers want to make sure their staff and prospects are protected.
“We have a downside with Covid-19 transmission at worksites throughout the complete county,” mentioned Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. “As the share of people who find themselves constructive with COVID-19 will increase, there’s merely a a lot bigger pool of contaminated individuals strolling round, usually with out signs, that now expose a higher and higher proportion of individuals to the virus.”
She mentioned that in a single month’s time, outbreaks at normal worksites — together with warehouses, manufacturing services and logistics firms — elevated from a mean of 9 per week to 44 per week. Schools and day care services additionally noticed a tripling of outbreaks. Ferrer famous that the majority of them have been “small and effectively contained,” however they concerned “dozens of workers and a small variety of college students.”
Such outbreaks mirrored a continued rise in instances countywide. Health officers reported one other 218 COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, lifting the countywide loss of life toll from the virus to 12,955. They additionally introduced 14,564 new instances, pushing the cumulative numbers because the pandemic started to 958,497.
Ferrer famous that common day by day new instances have risen by 1,092% since November, common day by day deaths are up 1,133% and hospitalizations are up 875%.
She mentioned the county can be bracing for the chance that a new variant of Covid-19 first found within the United Kingdom — referred to as B.1.1.7 — is taking maintain regionally.
“According to the most recent out there science, the UK variant does not make individuals sicker, however it’s extra transmissible, that means it could actually unfold extra simply,” Ferrer mentioned. “Current projections by the consultants predict that if left unchecked, this variant might dominate regionally by March.”
Asked if he was involved about B.1.1.7 California director of Health and Human Services Dr. mark Ghaly replied, “Absolutely, we have been fearful about it. I believe we’ve got 38 confirmed instances…if it takes off, we’ll see much more widespread transmission than we do now. I believe that the charges transmission are going to be considerably more difficult to include if we see extra of this B.1.1.7 variant.”
With the variant’s capability to quickly cross from individual to individual, Ferrer mentioned individuals have to proceed taking all essential precautions, whereas not ruling out the necessity for stricter rules to regulate the unfold.
Ferrer and Health Services Director Dr. Christina Ghaly once more famous that hospitalizations look like leveling off at a mean of slightly below 8,000 sufferers per day. State figures confirmed 7,906 individuals hospitalized with Covid-19 as of Wednesday, together with 1,699 in intensive care.
The county’s file pandemic-related affected person numbers have been effectively above 8,000 final week.
“While the numbers have plateaued at this quantity simply shy of 8000, they’ve leveled at a price that’s actually not sustainable,” mentioned L.A.’s Ghaly.
“This excessive plateau doesn’t go away sufficient open beds to look after sufferers with out Covid. And it doesn’t nonetheless permit us to be ready for an extra onslaught of sufferers that will current over the following couple of weeks in a potential post-holiday surge.”
Ghaly mentioned L.A.’s hospitals haven’t but begun to see the outcomes of gatherings and virus transmission that possible occurred over the Christmas and New Year holidays.
“Even if the slight decline continues, we’re nowhere close to being within the clear within the L.A. County hospital system,” she mentioned. “Hospitals can not maintain the excessive degree of beds which can be occupied with COVID sufferers.”
She added, “For there to be any significant reduction for well being care suppliers, we’d like a swift and important decline in hospitalizations for a interval of 1 to 2 months. Please don’t let this present variety of day by day hospitalizations really feel regular to you simply because it is plateaued.”
“We must be ready to do extra if instances stay excessive,” she mentioned. “The work forward requires us to take each motion essential to scale back transmission.”
City News Service contributed to this report.