LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — On Tuesday, Mayor Eric Garcetti updated residents on the COVID-19 pandemic and Omicron as well as reminding everyone how to be safe during the holiday season.
“This is a crucial time, I’m exhausted too,” said Garcetti. “If you have guests make sure they’re [vaccinated].READ MORE: Police Getting Additional Funds To Crack Down On Illegal Street Racing
Garcetti pushed for residents to protect themselves by getting vaccinated and boosted as well as getting tested as frequently as possible. He also said that testing frequently will allow residents to know about their status in real-time.
“You can get free testing at Dodger Stadium, and South L.A. and Highland Park,” he said. “In-home testing in January will be available, 500 million of those tests to Americans who can take those tests at home.”
He asked residents to stay vigilant by maintaining social distancing when possible and wearing masks while indoors because especially with the highly-contagious Omicron variant looming.READ MORE: Torrance Police Seek Public's Help In Shooting Death Of A Woman
Los Angeles County Health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer also stressed the importance of staying amid this Omicron surge.
“We’re hoping you sense urgency,” she said. “Omicron is a threat to our wellbeing… And required entire countries in Europe to impose significant restrictions.”
According to Garcetti, a few weeks ago L.A. County was reporting 1,000 cases a day. Now, the county is reporting 3,000 cases a day.MORE NEWS: NFL, LA County Go On Public Education Blitz To Block COVID From Super Bowl Festivities
However, L.A. County is far better than during last year’s winter surge. On Dec. 21, 2020, the health department reported 56 deaths, 11,271 new cases, and 5,709 hospitalizations. On the same day a year later, there were 25 deaths, 3,052 new cases and 741 hospitalizations.