LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- With the omicron variant continuing to spread, California has seen a steep spike in COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks.
During the past week, the average number of daily cases reported by the state climbed to 11,914, marking an increase of 73% from two weeks ago, according to health officials.
Statewide, 4,001 people were hospitalized with COVID as of Sunday, a 14% increase from the previous week.
Scientists say omicron spreads even easier than other coronavirus strains, including delta. Early studies suggest the vaccinated will need a booster shot for the best chance at preventing an omicron infection but even without the extra dose, vaccination still should offer strong protection against severe illness and death.
In Los Angeles County, there were 966 COVID-positive patients in hospitals as of Monday, up sharply from 904 on Sunday. Two-hundred of those patients were being treated in intensive care, up from 188 a day earlier.
The hospital number has been on a steady climb over the past several weeks, far surpassing the roughly 550 patients reported in late November. The rise has shadowed a dramatic increase in daily COVID case numbers, which surpassed 11,000 on Saturday.
Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer warned last week that if infections continue such a dramatic rise, the daily case number could top 20,000 by the new year, its highest level of the pandemic. She also said data
show that unvaccinated people are 21 times more likely to be hospitalized than vaccinated people.
L.A. County reported 7,425 new cases of COVID-19 and nine additional deaths on Monday, with the numbers artificially low due to standard reporting delays from the weekend. The county has logged 1,623,442 cases of
COVID-19 and 27,555 fatalities associated with the virus since the pandemic began.
Officials have said about 90% of the deaths occurred in people who had underlying health conditions.
City News Service contributed to this report.