BA.2 omicron subvariant drives up COVID cases in LA County schools

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, a countywide increase in COVID-19 infections is also being reflected at schools, where tests of students and staff had a positivity rate of 0.19% for the week ending April 8.

The 822 positive tests recorded that week represented a 42% increase from the prior week, according to the county. Health officials say the highly contagious BA.2 omicron subvariant is causing the increase.

On Wednesday by California Public Health Director Dr. Tomás Aragón, who also noted that BA.2 is now the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the state.

While COVID-19 hospitalization rates are near an all-time low, we are seeing an increase in COVID-19 transmission in some parts of the state,'' Aragón said. This underscores the need for Californians to remain vigilant and protect themselves and their communities by getting vaccinated and boosted.

"Vaccines continue to offer strong protection against COVID-19, including this variant. This is why the FDA has authorized a second booster dose for those in our most vulnerable categories, including people aged 50 and older. Getting this additional booster is the best way to maintain your protection against COVID-19 and its variants.''

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Despite the BA.2 variant leading to a rise in COVID-19 cases nationwide, health officials say fewer people are hospitalized for COVID that at any time since the start of the pandemic.

L.A. County health officials have noted that while daily case numbers have been rising, hospitalizations and deaths are still low.

On Wednesday, state figures showed 256 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals, down from 270 on Tuesday. Of those patients, 35 were being treated in intensive care units, down slightly from 36 a day earlier.

The county reported another 973 infections on Wednesday, raising the cumulative pandemic total to 2,848,030. Another 11 deaths were also reported, lifting the virus-related death toll to 31,830.

The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus ticked upward to 1.3% as of Wednesday, up from the roughly 1% rate of the past week.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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