COVID in LA County: New data shows BA.2 subvariant doubling across county since March 5

LOS ANGELES (KABC) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates BA.2 is now the dominant COVID-19 variant in the United States.

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In Los Angeles County, public health officials say it now accounts for nearly a third of all virus cases that are screened for variants, leading them to continue to push people to get vaccinated.

This comes as a big change were made at Disney theme Parks on Thursday, which are all now a part of a changing world with less restrictions. Starting as early as April 18, Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line and Aulani Resort in Hawaii will start reintroducing traditional character greetings, Disney Parks announced.

READ MORE Disneyland, Disney World to relax social-distancing rules, reintroduce character greetings

However, new early warning signs indicate our downward trend may be leveling off and LA County health officials are keeping a close eye on the data. Since March 5, cases of the omicron subvariant have doubled, reaching 32% of sequenced cases.

“Given that BA.2 is more infectious than the previous omicron strains, we expect that BA.2 now accounts for an even higher proportion of BA.2 cases in LA County,” said Barbara Ferrer, LA County Public Health Director.

Despite seeing more BA.2, Ferrer said early warning signs don’t suggest we’ll see an immediate rise in cases and hospitalizations. But given the increased risk for spread, now is the time for eligible Residents to get another booster.

“Taking time now to get vaccinated and boosted not only protects the people who are vaccinated, it reduces the risk of increased transmission across the county,” Ferrer said.

READ ALSO As the BA.2 COVID-19 subvariant is on the rise, here are the most commonly experienced symptoms

A new analysis looking at the records of 14 million US patients shows that vaccinated pregnant women have nearly twice the risk of developing COVID versus vaccinated people who are not pregnant.

This reinforces the importance of pregnant people getting vaccinated, because Vaccines lower the risk of severe illness, even if you get a breakthrough infection.

“[Wednesday,] we had a lot of people come through our sites, “said Gema Morales, director of clinical services at the LA County Department of Public Health.

An enthusiastic response emerged in LA County after the CDC authorized additional booster doses for those 50 and older along with those who are immunocompromised. Despite the concern that federal funds will run out next week, Morales said vaccine services will continue.

“Our county-run sites will continue to provide Vaccines for free to everyone,” she said.

But a reminder from health officials remains: If you’re unable to travel to a vaccination site, the county is continuing its program to vaccinate homebound people.

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