Local health authorities warned that if the case numbers continue to increase at a rapid pace, the L.A. county could be looking at case numbers over 20,000 a day by the end of this year.
On Wednesday, New COVID-19 cases have more than doubled from 3,052 to 6,509 in the past 24 hours in Los Angeles County, the most populous county in California.
"This steep increase, one of the steepest rises we have ever seen over the course of the pandemic, reflects the increased circulation of Omicron and the associated rapid acceleration of transmission associated with this variant," the Los Angeles County Public Health Department (LAPHD) said, reporting 162 additional Omicron cases on Wednesday while only confirming four additional cases of the Omicron variant the previous day.
There are 748 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized in the county, home to over 10 million residents. Wednesday's positivity rate perched at 4.5 percent, rising from 1.9 percent a week ago. The Health Department also reported 16 additional deaths from COVID-19, bringing the county's accumulative caseload and death toll to 1,576,702 and 27,488, respectively.
"These numbers make it crystal clear that we are heading into very challenging times over the winter holidays," LAPHD Director Barbara Ferrer said, adding that if the case numbers continue to increase at a rapid pace, the county could be looking at case numbers over 20,000 a day by the end of this year.
"While many will be protected against the most severe illness from Omicron because they are fully vaccinated and boosted where eligible, very high case numbers can easily cause significant stress to the health care system if even a small percentage of those infected require hospital care," she added.
Los Angeles County's top health official said Tuesday that no lockdowns were planned at this time, as vaccines and other safety measures remained strong tools to combat the new threat, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Los Angeles was once the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. In January, Los Angeles became the first county in the United States to have over 1 million total cases since the outbreak began.