Covid BA.2 Omicron Variant Likely Now Accounts For Majority Of New Cases In Los Angeles

rapid growth of more permeable BA.2 type of covidContinuing in -19 Los Angeles County. As of March 12, the latest date for which data is available, 32% of local positive COVID tests that have undergone laboratory sequencing have resulted in BA.2.

During the week ending March 5, 16.7% of the sequenced cases were found to be BA.2, meaning that the share of variants in new cases nearly doubled in just 7 days. In the last week of February, BA.2 accounted for 6.3% of new cases, meaning that the share of the version of infections had more than doubled even a week earlier.

to continue spread rapidly BA.2 inch other areas where it had its roots before – as UKSouth Africa, Singapore, India and northeastern united states — It is likely that it has also gone into effect in LA in the 2 weeks since the latest numbers were tallied.

In fact, this week’s CDC data map shows that’s the case in the three state territories of California, Nevada and Arizona. See graphic below.

The US map with new BA.2 cases, shown in pink, versus BA.1 cases, in purple.

However, the spread of the highly infectious variant has not yet translated into an overall increase in hospitalizations related to the virus among US health officials, possibly due to the relatively high number of Americans who have now been vaccinated.

LA Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said today that, as of Sunday, only 3% of visits to hospital emergency departments in the county are related to COVID. It’s a long, long way from the bad old days at the end of 2021.

“Despite increasing BA.2, what we are starting to see is not yet an increase in COVID-19 emergency department visits,” she said.

However, the county is seeing a leveling off decline in case numbers over the past several weeks, with the county now averaging about 660 cases per day.

“The rate of decline has been slow, and this week we are not seeing any drop in cases,” Ferrer said.

She said it was too early to call that leveling-off a “concern,” but she dubbed it “notable.”

“At some point we knew it was likely that we were going to stop the decline,” Ferrer said. “We know there is still transmission … Personally, I wish we were at a lower level when we’re doing this plateau, but we’ve seen a significant reduction, and that’s good news.”

She also noted that the slowing down of the decline may be related to the recent lifting of COVID-related restrictions, such as indoor masking requirements. With the county, state on Friday, will pick up Vaccination and negative test verification requirements at indoor mega events such as sporting events and music festivals.

“Every time we’ve lowered the level of restrictions or protections required, we’ve always seen an increase (in cases),” Ferrer said. “The slowing down of the decline can in some ways also be seen as an acceleration.”

The county reported 784 new COVID cases on Thursday, along with 16 additional virus-related deaths.

The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus stood at 1.1% on Thursday, up from 0.7% consistently for the past few weeks. The rate was 0.9% on Wednesday.

The number of COVID positive patients in county hospitals fell to 308 on Thursday from 325 on Wednesday. The number of patients being treated in intensive care stood at 47, up from 51 a day earlier.

According to county statistics, 71% of all county residents were fully vaccinated. However, only 31% of children aged 5-11 have been fully vaccinated, the lowest rate of any age group.

City News Service contributed to this report.