By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Los Angeles County’s annual homeless count has been delayed by about one month because of the current surge of COVID-19 cases.

The L.A. Homeless Services Authority announced Friday that the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count will take place from Feb. 22-24. It was originally scheduled to take place in late January.

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The postponement is due to the spike in coronavirus cases brought on by the highly transmissible Omicron variant. On Thursday, L.A. County recorded more than 45,000 new cases of COVID-19, with a staggering seven-day testing positivity rate of 20.8%.

According to officials, the count is being delayed due to health and safety reasons for all involved: staff, volunteers and the homeless.

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On Feb. 22, the count will focus on the San Gabriel and San Fernando Valleys. On Feb. 23 it will be conducted in West L.A., Southeast L.A. and the South Bay. On Feb. 24 the count will move to the Antelope Valley, South L.A. and Metro L.A.

This will mark the first homeless count in more than two years. The count was canceled in 2021 because of the pandemic. The 2020 count, which was conducted just a few months prior to the start of the pandemic, recorded 66,433 people living on the streets of L.A. County, a staggering 12.7% increase from 2019.

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Of that total, 41,290 were within the city of L.A., which marked a 14.2% increase over 2019.