By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Babies and toddlers were amongst the steepest increase of hospitalizations in Los Angeles County, prompting concern from public health officials as in-person is set to resume.

“As students return to the classroom, we all need to follow the public health safety measures in place to ensure our schools can open safely after the winter break,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the county’s Department of Public Health. “Because higher community transmission creates additional challenges at our schools, everyone needs to do their part to slow the spread of the virus.”

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According to the Department of Public Health, from Dec. 4 to Dec. 25 pediatric hospitalizations increased by nearly 190%, while cases among children increased by 207% from Nov. 8 to Dec. 26.

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While hospitalizations among children remained low, Public Health data showed that the age group that saw the steepest rise, increasing by 3.25 fold, were babies and toddlers between the ages of 0-4 years old. They were followed by teenagers from age of 12-17 who increased 3 fold, followed by 5-to-11-year-olds who increased by 1.5 fold.

Los Angeles Unified School District also pushed back the beginning of the spring semester to Tuesday, Jan. 11, and is also requiring all students and staff to be tested before returning to school. 

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Overall, the county reported 16,269 cases and eight deaths on Monday. Of the eight deaths, all but two were older than 50 years old and seven had underlying conditions. The positivity rate for today exceeded 20% once again, with 22.5% of tests coming back positive.