Officials hope that the California coronavirus surge will not last long. It has caused schools to close and left thousands without police, firefighters, teachers, and other health care workers.
“My hope is that, you know, by the time we get to February, we’re on the downside of seeing that massive amount of community transmission,”Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County Public Health Director, said Thursday.
California’s number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has soared five-fold in two weeks and hospitalizations have doubled. LA County, the state’s largest with 10 million residents, reported more than 37,000 new cases on Thursday, which was the highest level since the pandemic started.
The omicron variant was first discovered in California in November. According to health officials, the highly infectious mutation was spread by close contact, particularly during holidays among people who are not vaccinated.
Health officials stated that booster shots and vaccinations were effective in protecting people against severe illnesses. COVID-19 was only found in a small percentage of COVID-19 patients admitted to hospital. The county stated that most were admitted with unrelated diseases.
“We do see this as a surge that will be, it is our hope and belief, short-lived,”Michel Moore, Los Angeles Police Chief, stated Thursday that more than 800 firefighters and police officers were affected by the virus.
Moore stated that it took an average of three weeks for COVID-19-stricken officers to return to work.
San Francisco reported on Tuesday that 167 officers were quarantined and 135 firefighters — both representing about 8% of their forces — were absent due to COVID-19. San Diego had almost 200 officers and other staff out Tuesday. This is similar to the department.
This has also led to long waits for COVID test results as parents are eager to return their children to school after the winter break. While thousands of test kits have been distributed across the country to counties, Gov. Backlogs have been criticised by Gavin Newsom as well as state health officials.
At a Long Beach testing site, hundreds waited in long lines Thursday morning.
“I think it’s very much going out of control,”Salvador Barragan said this after self-administration of his nasal swab. “I hope it calms down.”
Not only are lab tests harder to get amid record demand, officials say they’re taking longer to process because COVID-19 also has depleted the ranks of technicians.
Santa Clara County’s processing lab has been sending samples out to Texas because of staff shortages. Dr. Jennifer Tong (associate chief medical officer at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center), told Bay Area News that one such lab was being used. Group.
Also, it is difficult to find off-the-shelf home tests.
Schools have been affected by the virus surge. District officials announced that all 54 West Contra Costa County schools, east of San Francisco will be closed Friday and Monday.
Ryan Phillips, a district spokesperson, said that more than 5,000 students were absent this week. This is almost 25% of the 28,000 students in the district.
One in six of San Francisco’s 3,600 teachers were out Thursday. Even with administrators, substitutes and others stepping in there weren’t enough teachers for every classroom, Superintendent Vince Matthews.
“This is the most challenging time in my 36 years as an educator,”Matthews stated this during a time when he was not working as a sixth grade science teacher. “We’re trying to educate students in the middle of a pandemic while the sands around us are consistently shifting.”
Nearly 900 teachers in San Francisco were called in sick on Thursday. A group of educators had called for a sickout, arguing that the school district hadn’t done enough to protect them during the surge. They want more testing and that all students wear medical-grade masks.
It wasn’t clear how many educators who called in sick took part or had the virus or were out caring for family members.
Jazmine Keel from Mission High School said that more than 70 teachers were part of the protest.
“There barely were even enough subs to take attendance,”She shared her story KTVU-TV, although district officials said classes weren’t interrupted.
Similar sickouts were planned for Friday at the Oakland Unified Schools District. San Francisco Chronicle cites an online posting. ChronicleOakland Schools were the focus of organizers. “are facing the greatest crisis in living memory.”
“Staff and students sit in half-empty classrooms terrified that they will be the next to get infected and bring the disease home to their loved ones,”The press release stated that.