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The Orange County Health Care Agency 's most recent data on Jan. 12 shows hospitalizations are at their highest since last February, with 1,072 new patients — 86% of whom are unvaccinated. 

A recent study of nearly 70,000 patients in California found Omicron variant infections to be associated with “substantially reduced risk of severe clinical endpoints” and shorter hospital stays.

As Omicron replaces Delta as the dominant COVID variant, Cal State Fullerton and University of California, Irvine have reported returning to remote instruction for indefinite amounts of time and cancelling on-campus events.

“Temporarily delaying face-to-face instruction was not what we hoped for, but we believe that this decision allows us to prioritize health and safety without sacrificing academic quality and success,” CSUF president Fram Virjee said in a letter on Jan. 7.

UC Irvine announced Thursday a revision to its face covering policy to align with Cal/OSHA’s latest standards.

The new policy requires anyone who is indoors on university-controlled property to wear a face covering that doesn’t let light pass through when held up to a light source. 

Some community colleges in the region are following suit, including Saddleback College and Orange Coast College.