'Numbers are doubling per week': COVID cases increasing after the holidays

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Counties across the Bay Area are reporting an increase in positive coronavirus cases after the holidays.

California is in the middle of a winter surge. The last time we saw numbers this high was a year ago.

"It's alarming," said Dr. George Rutherford and added, "Having rising case numbers is not good, but not having markedly rising or proportionally rising hospitalizations rate is good. What that speaks to is a decoupling between cases and hospitalizations. The omicron variant is milder and causes less severe disease."

RELATED: Omicron surge could be over by February, UCSF doctor predicts

COVID testing company Bay PLS is reporting an influx of testing across the Bay Area after the holidays, with a 19 percent positivity rate in San Francisco's Mission site.

"We are noticing that the numbers are doubling per week," said Salu Ribeiro, Founder of Bay PLS.

More than 1,000 people are getting tested a Bay PLS's site in San Bruno.

VIDEO: California's COVID test positivity rate quadruples in last two weeks
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New data from the California Department of Public Health shows the positivity rate in the state is 9.7% -- the highest it's been in months.



"Of those numbers the Latinx community is testing positive at 31 percent, which is higher than the 19 percent average we are seeing in other places," said Linda Mason, Vice Mayor of the City of San Bruno.

As COVID cases increase, UCSF's epidemiologist, Dr. George Rutherford believes we need to focus our attention on hospitalizations to understand the real impact this surge could have.

"For right now we are well within our capacity," said Dr. Rutherford.

State data shows a slow increase in hospitalizations with more than 7,000 hospitalized in California with COVID.

RELATED: CDC considering COVID test requirement for asymptomatic people as omicron surges, Fauci says

In San Francisco, the chief of the Emergency Department at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital is starting to see the increase first hand.

"We are up pretty considerably. We were down for up to 5-6 in the hospital three weeks ago and only one or two in the ICU. Now, we are up to 20 in the hospital with about 5 in the ICU," said Dr. Chris Colwell, Chief of the Emergency Room at Zuckerberg SF General.

Nationwide more than 100,000 people are hospitalized with COVID for the first time in nearly four months -- Some testing positive after being treated for other medical reasons and not necessarily getting admitted for COVID first.

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