An additional 91 COVID-19 deaths were reported in Los Angeles County on Wednesday, the second-highest daily total of the Omicron surge. One of the deaths was a 15-month-old, the youngest child to die of COVID-19.
“This is the youngest resident to die of COVID-19 since the pandemic began and a stark reminder that the virus can cause devastating outcomes among those most vulnerable, including young children not yet eligible for vaccinations,” the county said in a statement.
No details about the death were released.
“As we mark the two-year anniversary of the first case detected in L.A. County, I send my heartfelt condolences and wishes of healing to the family who suffered the devastating loss of their small child, and to the countless people who have lost a loved one to this pandemic,” Barbara Ferrer, the county public health director, said in a statement.
There is growing optimism that the Omicron surge as peaked, but deaths from COVID-19 from the winter surge remain a major concern, and hospitals still remain strained. In L.A. County, officials have voiced worry about lackluster rates of people getting their booster shot, and parents getting children ages 5 to 11 vaccinated.
Vaccination efforts are important, officials say, because it’s possible the Omicron wave won’t be the last one of the pandemic. Officials also say low vaccination rates among children ages 5 to 11 risk ongoing transmission of disease, not only among those children, but also in the broader community.
Daily COVID-19 deaths have also soared in the state in recent weeks. Over the last week, an average of 139 deaths a day have been reported, exceeding the statewide peak from the summer Delta surge of 135 deaths a day. The pandemic has now killed more than 78,300 Californians.
It appears that the number of pandemic-stricken patients in California hospitals is may be starting to plateau. As of Tuesday, 15,279 coronavirus-positive patients were hospitalized statewide. That’s essentially unchanged from a week ago.
By comparison, between Jan. 11 and 18, that hospital census swelled by 23%. Over the prior week, it grew by 53%.
California has now surpassed 8 million cumulative coronavirus cases in the pandemic.