According to the state, there were 2,168 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals as of Sunday, with 302 of those patients in intensive care.
"There's a lot of feeling of déj vu," said Dr. Thomas Yadegar, the medical director of the intensive care unit and pulmonary department at Providence Tarzana Medical Center. "A lot of people are apprehensive about what the next few weeks may hold."
On Monday, the county Department of Public Health announced that the number of pediatric COVID patients -- while still relatively small -- increased by nearly 190% from Dec. 4-25, with children under 4 seeing the biggest pediatric increase.
"As students return to the classroom, we all need to follow the public health safety measures in place to ensure our schools can open safely after the winter break,'' Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. "Because higher community transmission creates additional challenges at our schools, everyone needs to do their part to slow the spread of the virus."
With Pediatric Hospitalizations Increasing and In-Person Learning Resuming this Week, Parents and Children Are Urged to Take Precaution Amid Surging Transmission - 16,269 New Positive Cases and 8 New Deaths Due to COVID-19 in Los Angeles County. View: https://t.co/BLDZOoYCrC pic.twitter.com/51fOFXWssq— LA Public Health (@lapublichealth) January 3, 2022
Meanwhile, the ICU at Providence Tarzana Medical Center is starting to fill up again, according to Yadegar, but this time, more doctors and nurses are getting sick.
"This morning, we had a nurse who worked all last night and at the end of her shift, she did a test because she wasn't feeling well, and she was positive," said Carmen Verano, a charge nurse in the ICU unit at Providence Tarzana Medical Center.
Yadegar said that the majority of his patients currently being treated for a severe case of COVID are not vaccinated. The few who are vaccinated never got their booster, he said.
"I think for us, it's another layer because a lot of what we're seeing is entirely preventable and unnecessary," said Yadegar.
On Monday, the U.S. expanded its COVID boosters, allowing extra Pfizer shots for children as young as 12.
Boosters already are recommended for everyone 16 and older, and federal regulators on Monday decided they're also warranted for 12- to 15-year-olds once enough time has passed since their last dose. They could be available as soon as Thursday after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention meets on Wednesday.
The FDA also said everyone 12 and older eligible for a booster can get one as early as five months after their last dose rather than six months.
City News Service, Inc. contributed to this report.