The surge in COVID-19 cases attributed to the more easily transmitted Omicron variant seen nationwide is reflected locally, as Antelope Valley Hospital has once again seen the number of patients with the virus jump significantly and various entities are taking steps to help reduce transmission in the community.

As of Jan. 12, Antelope Valley Hospital reported 81 patients with COVID-19. Of those, 58, or 72 percent are unvaccinated.

The hospital reported 11 patients are in the ICU, and again 72 percent, or eight, are unvaccinated. Seven patients are on ventilation, all unvaccinated.

A week earlier, AV Hospital reported 62 patients with COVID-19, of whom 47 were unvaccinated, or nearly 76 percent. At that time, six patients were in the ICU, four of whom were unvaccinated, and five on ventilators, all but one unvaccinated.

Like hospitals nationwide, AV Hospital is experiencing staffing shortages as personnel become ill or quarantine, “but it’s being managed,” spokeswoman Cynthia Frausto said in an email.

Edwards Air Force Base moved to Health Protection Condition-Charlie, on Wednesday night, an increased level of alert that increases restrictive measures to combat the virus’ spread. This includes rules to increase telework and reduced capacities for workplaces and other gathering spaces. Most indoor dining is closed, with only takeout available, while social distancing is required at the dining facility for those with meal cards.

Schools have been navigating the surge, as students and staff test positive. The Mojave Unified School District canceled classes on Jan. 14 as a result of staffing shortages. This came after District officials consulted with health experts to successfully keep schools open earlier in the week, when almost 100 employees were out due to illness or quarantine.

To help reduce the number of students on campus, and therefore opportunities for transmission, Antelope Valley College announced on Jan. 14  that most classes would be scheduled remotely through Jan. 24.

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