The Latest on Omicron

Here's the latest news of the recent Omicron surge data in Southern California.



The county is seeing spikes in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, prompting local public health officials to encourage residents to be more vigilant. San Diego County went into the CDC's "Orange Level" or "High Transmission Risk" late last week. With the highly infectious BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants driving up case and hospitalization numbers, San Diego County moved into the “high” COVID-19 activity level Thursday, however unlike Los Angeles County, no indoor mask-wearing mandate has been announced.


Studies have suggested that vaccines and previous infection do not offer as much protection against BA.5 compared to past variants. However, there is little evidence to suggest that BA.5 causes more serious disease or is more deadly than previous variants.


A March 2022 study from South Africa found an increased risk of reinfection with the emergence of omicron, BA.1, due to the variant's marked ability to evade immunity from prior infection (this applies to the latest variants as well). There are two things going for BA.5, One is, it evades protection from vaccines and previous infection due to its mutation and it's a super-spreader. "When you look at BA.5 specifically, your antibodies from BA.1 and BA.2 are not great at neutralizing BA.5," says Dr. Shira Doron, an infectious disease physician and hospital epidemiologist at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. Experts say the risk of reinfection has also increased due to the sheer number of Americans who've had a first infection and the dropping of mitigation measures, like mask-wearing, across the country.


As of the week, BA.4 made up 15.5 percent of new cases, and BA.5 was 49 percent, accounting for about 65 percent of new cases in the United States, numbers that experts said should rise in the weeks to come.

The San Diego Unified School District is requiring indoor masking starting Monday, July 18, 2022 — a result of San Diego County entering the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s high COVID-19 transmission level last week.


Los Angeles County is already in the CDC’s “medium” COVID level, based on the elevated rate of people being infected with the virus. If the county’s rate of average daily COVID-positive patients being admitted to area hospitals tops 10 per 100,000 residents, it will enter the “high” category. Now the city of LA is talking about increased infections by the BA.5 sub variant which could push Los Angeles in the high COVID-19 community level and they’re talking about new mask mandates at the end of the month.


  • The community level of Covid-19 in Imperial County is high based on cases and hospitalizations, according to the most recent update from the C.D.C. on July 14.


  • The number of hospitalized Covid patients has risen in the Imperial County area. Deaths have remained at about the same level.


  • The test positivity rate in Imperial County is very high, suggesting that cases are being significantly undercounted. An average of 211 cases per day were reported in Imperial County, a 79 percent increase from the average two weeks ago. Since the beginning of the pandemic, at least 1 in 3 residents have been infected, a total of 73,379 reported cases.


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