Omicron peak in California with nearly 30,000 hospitalizations – Deadline

California Governor Gavin Newsom offered details on the impact of Omicron during a press conference on his budget proposal 2022-2023.

“We expect by the 14th or 15th” [of this month]… that we will have a higher total hospital count than at the height of this pandemic early last year,” Newsom said, noting also that “not all of them Covid patients.”

That total number was 53,400, according to figures the governor shared in his presentation. He also revealed that the current total hospital count is 51,917. That means hospitals in the state are about 1,500 patients away from last January’s record. And according to a state forecast, the current rise will make that total number much higher.

Last winter there was a record high of 21,938 Covid-related hospital admissions on January 6, 2021. Today, the state reported 11,048 patients with the virus.

Deadline reported on Friday that the California Covid Assessment Tool’s ensemble forecast last week predicted Covid-related hospitalizations would rise to 23,528 by Feb. 6. That would overshadow last winter’s record of 21,938.

Last week’s CA Covid hospitals forecast
to smoothe

But one updated California ensemble forecast released today shows a much faster rise to an even higher peak.

According to the new state forecast, virus-related hospitalizations will surpass last year’s record at 29,416, on Jan. 28, much higher and earlier than forecast just a week ago. It is also 34% higher than last year’s peak.

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The new ensemble prognosis for Covid-related hospitalizations in CA
to smoothe

“As of this weekend,” Newsom said, “our current data suggests we have about 4 1/2% of people getting the Omicron variant.” [who] end up in hospital. The average length of stay is 3.6 days. Two things to note about those numbers: the 4 1/2% is lower than the Delta [rate] by a significant margin, and the number of hospital days is more modest [at 3.6], fewer days than with previous viruses.”

But Newsom warned, “While the numbers may be smaller in percentage terms, the aggregate of those getting this variant is such that it will put a tremendous strain on our hospital system.”

He shared a chart comparing current Covid numbers in the state with those from a year ago. In addition to the nearly 100% higher number of cases this year, the current governor’s data already shows a higher number of emergency room visits related to Covid concerns, even though there are fewer hospital admissions. And the total number of emergency room visits this year is double that of last year around this time.

“Look at those emergency room visits,” Newsom said. “You can see that that number is considerably higher. There is a lot of tension on that at the moment.”

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Chart comparing last year’s Covid figures with this year
State of CA

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