Los Angeles County is likely to hit the tragic statistic of 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths a week soon if the current trends continue, officials said Monday.

More than 1 in 5 people are testing positive for COVID-19 and the county’s cases doubled between Nov. 30, at 400,000, and Jan. 2, to 800,000. It took more than nine months to reach 400,000.

County health officials fear the incoming Christmas and New Year’s surge. The additional Thanksgiving cases have swamped hospitals, forcing them to treat patients in hallways, ambulances and the gift shop, and forced an oxygen shortage.

The county on Monday reported 77 additional deaths, which include a reporting lag over the weekend, bringing the total to 10,850 in the nation’s most populous county.

Officials also reported 9,142 new cases — a lower figure due to testing sites being closed during the New Year holiday — to make a total of 827,498. The variant has not yet been detected in the county but officials believe it is here.

Nearly 7,700 people are hospitalized countywide for COVID-19 and 21% are in intensive care units.

“We’re likely to experience the worst conditions in January that we’ve faced the entire pandemic — and that’s hard to imagine,” county public health director Barbara Ferrer said at a briefing.

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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