As Winter Respiratory Virus Spread Slowly Increases, Residents Encouraged to Plan and Prepare

With a small uptick in indicators of COVID-19 transmission the past two weeks, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) continues to monitor data to assess the possibility for larger increases in spread as the holiday season gets underway. Residents are encouraged to plan and prepare for this winter’s respiratory virus season.

Last winter, COVID-19 cases started to increase in late October and peaked in early December. The winter before, cases remained relatively stable through the end of November, and then increased sharply in December with the arrival of the Omicron variant. Cases then peaked in early January.

Since Nov. 1, the average daily number of reported COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County has increased 25 percent and the percentage of emergency department visits classified as COVID-19-related has increased 20 percent.

While data shows that in Los Angeles County the risk of rapid spread of COVID-19 is currently of low concern, it is beneficial to be aware of potential increases in transmission, especially as increased transmission of the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and flu are also being seen in the county.

This year, RSV transmission began increasing in late September, and there has recently been an increase in flu transmission starting in late October.  With all three viruses circulating at the same time, and beginning to increase simultaneously, there is a greater chance for a strain on the county’s health care system as more individuals may need to seek medical care from providers all within the same period. This is what is described as the ‘tripledemic’ and why preparing for the winter respiratory virus season is so important.

The best course of action is to maximize protection against severe illness by ensuring vaccines are up to date. For people 6 months and older, an annual flu and, regardless of past vaccination status, the updated (2023-2024 formula) COVID-19 vaccine is recommended. People who are pregnant, those with very young children and people over 60 years old should speak to their provider about the RSV vaccine. In most cases, multiple vaccines can be administered at the same time.

To help minimize the spread of illness in the community, people should stay home when they feel sick or are exhibiting symptoms, including a fever, cough, or sore throat, and test to detect a possible COVID-19 infection early. COVID-19 tests are free at many sites throughout the county and information is available at Treatments for COVID-19 and flu are routinely available with a prescription and can help to prevent severe illness, especially for those who are at high risk.

Adults and children 12 years and older who test or are suspected positive for COVID and have underlying health conditions or factors that may result in more severe illness from COVID-19, are eligible to take Paxlovid, which must be started within five days of symptom onset. Public Health encourages everyone to speak with their provider about Paxlovid if they test positive or to call the Public Health Call Center at 1-833-540-0473, open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., for free telehealth services and a prescription.

If a person has respiratory symptoms and is testing negative for COVID-19, it is possible that they have a flu infection and anti-viral treatments are also available with a prescription from a provider. Oseltamivir, available under the trade name Tamiflu, is approved for treatment of flu in adults and children 14 days old and older. People who are 65 years old and older, under 5 years old, pregnant or have underlying health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes or obesity, are at higher risk for complications and should seek medical care if they feel ill.

Los Angeles County residents who have questions about respiratory symptoms, vaccines, where to get vaccination or how to get tested can access the Public Health Call Center, open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to answer questions related to COVID-19, flu or RSV at 1-833-540-0473. Public Health staff can connect callers with resources and help people schedule vaccination appointments, including in-home vaccinations for those that are homebound.

In Los Angeles County, based on data through Nov. 4, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Hospital Admission Level is Low at 3.6 new COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 people.

Public Health reports COVID-19 data weekly. The following table shows case, wastewater, emergency department, hospitalization and death data in Los Angeles County over the past four weeks.


Date of Weekly Report





Daily average cases





SARS-CoV-2 wastewater concentration as a percentage of the Winter 2022-2023 peak concentration value





Daily average of the percent of Emergency Department (ED) encounters classified as coronavirus-related





Daily average number of COVID-positive hospitalizations





Daily average deaths





Percent of all deaths due to COVID-19





All daily averages are 7-day averages. Data for past weeks are subject to change in future reports. Time periods covered by each metric: cases = week ending each Saturday; wastewater = week ending each Saturday, with a one-week lag; ED data = week ending each Sunday; hospitalizations = week ending each Saturday; deaths = week ending each Monday, with a three-week lag; death percentage = week ending Monday, with a one-week lag.

Case data is presented by episode date, an approximation of the date the illness began, and death data is presented by date of death. This is a change from how case and death data were presented prior to July 26, 2023, which was by date of report. Daily average cases do not include Long Beach and Pasadena; daily average deaths include Long Beach and Pasadena.

Always check with trusted sources for the latest accurate information about novel coronavirus:

  • Los Angeles County Department of Public Health:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Spanish: