Coronavirus California: how long will the omicron crisis last according to the Hospitals?
There may be light at the end of the tunnel for California as the Omicron variant continues to send new case numbers soaring with hospitals on the ropes.
New infections of covid-19 are soaring in California, currently around four times the number during last winter’s surge. The fast-spreading Omicron variant is the culprit, which is around four times as infectious as the original strains of the virus and up to twice as contagious as the Delta variant.
Public health officials and experts think the end of the surge may be in sight. If the Omicron surge hasn’t peaked already, then it should do so in the next week or so. The number of hospitalizations lags behind new case numbers, but the stressed hospital system in California could see relief by the end of the month.
Omicron peak in California likely near if not crossed
Officials and health experts around the state are hopeful that the Omicron surge may plateau in the coming week or so. There are positive signs in Santa Clara County in Northern California where levels of virus in the wastewater have reduced. Dr Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious diseases expert at University of California San Francisco, ventured the wave may crest within a week for the Bay Area. That is if the Omicron surge follows the pattern of other hot spots, like New York and DC which are seeing their numbers finally decline.
Dr. Dean Blumberg, head of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Medical Center told ABC10 that California may have already peaked. “Some of the best models suggest that we already hit the peak in terms of daily infections in California,” he said.
The daily average of new cases is over 118,000 according to The New York Times covid-19 tracker. Last winter the daily average was more than 44,000 at its height.
Hospitalization surge will peak at the end of the month
Hospitals are being put under extreme stress with the latest covid-19 surge driven by Omicron. After two years of pandemic medical staff are exhausted and this wave is putting even more pressure on them. Many medical centers are experiencing staffing shortages due to illness or hospital workers having to isolate.
According to the most recent data there are more than 13,000 daily hospitalizations. Statewide hospitalization forecasts put that number rising to over 29,600 by the end of January before coming down again. That will break last year’s covid-related hospitalization record high of 21,938 in early January 2021.
Compared to previous surges “there is less of a run in ICU bed use fortunately so ventilator shortage is less of an issue in California,” so far according to Dr Chin-Hong. Around the state, 79 percent of California ICU beds are occupied. There are around 1,500 ICU beds available in the state.