COVID-19 hospitalizations leveling off statewide - state's health secretary says "we're not out of the woods"

COVID-19 hospitalizations are leveling off statewide -- but the state's health secretary says "we're not out of the woods."

"Still bracing for significant impact in the weeks to come," he says.

But, for now, Dr. Mark Ghaly, says there's "some hope."

Earlier this month, the state was averaging about 3,500 new admissions a day. Over the past couple of days, we've seen about 1,000 fewer admissions.

In LA County, hospitalizations have stabilized but at very high levels and officials here are bracing for another surge as people who got infected over the holidays start to get really sick.

"It is encouraging to see not a significant an increase in Southern California and other parts of the state as it relates to the holiday activities and surge but I wouldn't declare victory in any way. We know we have seen many high days since the beginning of the year. We knew people didn't come in to get tested as frequently as they would have, pre-holidays so we do anticipate that even though this week has been encouraging because those admission numbers have been flatter we do expect there to be a bump up in the middle of the month towards the second half of the month," he says.

Ghaly notes there's "still a lot of COVID in our communities so we must continue to keep our guard up."

According to Ghaly on the news conference Tuesday, the four California regions are also under a stay-at-home order for at least three weeks and shall continue to do so until ICU capacity projections are above or equal to 15 percent. Those include Southern California, San Joaquin Valley, Greater Sacramento and Bay Area.