The Los Angeles City Council will return to virtual meetings for the first month of 2022 as officials assess the latest COVID-19 surge, Council President Nury Martinez’ office announced Tuesday.

Meetings were held virtually twice a week from March 2020 until June 15, 2021, when the City Council resumed in-person meetings, although members of the public continued participating virtually. After the initial Friday meeting this week, the City Council’s Friday meetings will be suspended for the month and council members will meet virtually only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

At the end of the month, officials will revisit holding in-person council meetings.

The move back to fully virtual meetings during the month of January comes as the number of COVID-19 positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals surged well above the 2,000 mark amid a surge in infections that has seen daily case numbers skyrocket over the past two weeks.

According to state figures, there were 2,240 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals as of Tuesday, a jump from 1,994 on Monday. Of those patients, 303 were being treated in intensive care, an increase from 278 a day earlier. The hospitalization number is the highest it has been since last February in the midst of another winter COVID surge.

With the highly transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19 fueling spread of the virus, the county’s case numbers have also soared over the past week. The county reported nearly 45,000 new cases over the weekend, following a daily record high of 27,091 new infections on Friday.

On Monday — when case and fatality numbers are traditionally low due to reporting delays from the weekend — the county announced eight more COVID-related deaths and 16,269 new cases.

The City Council’s agenda Friday includes a vote to extend the mayor’s March 4, 2020 pandemic-related declaration of emergency for an additional 30 days, which has occurred each month since it was issued. People can watch the meeting at clerk.lacity.org/calendar.

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