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Pandemic sidelines 800 police, firefighters in Los Angeles

Rosa Vargas, Victor Loredo
Posted at 9:33 PM, Jan 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-07 00:33:18-05

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A dramatic surge in coronavirus cases has sidelined more than 800 Los Angeles city police and firefighters and led to slightly longer ambulance and fire response times. That's adding to concerns about shortages of critical staff including health care workers.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said Thursday that more than 500 LAPD personnel and nearly 300 firefighters were off-duty after testing positive for COVID-19. He said measures were being taken to ensure the safety of the public.

California’s confirmed cases have shot up nearly 500% in the last two weeks and hospitalizations have doubled since Christmas.

State officials say the surge is also sidelining health care workers, leading to hospital staffing shortages that could become a bigger problem.