As many as 800 COVID-related cases for dockworkers at the California ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach could significantly worsen the supply-chain crisis that was already plaguing retailers.

The Omicron variant that is spreading its way across the U.S. has hit the ports and has created a labor crunch, affecting more than 100 ships that are backlogged and waiting to be offloaded, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The 800 dockworkers that called out due to COVID-19 account for 1 in 10 of the two California ports’ daily workforce, who have either tested positive for the virus, are quarantining, or are feeling ill, the Journal reported.

Like much of the U.S. population, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have seen an increase in the number of COVID infections in recent weeks, rising from a few cases a day to about 150 a day last week, the Pacific Maritime Association told the Journal.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents West Coast port workers, saw a record 200,000 positive COVID cases for the week that ended Jan. 8.

With fewer workers on hand at the ports, fewer cargo ships are being offloaded. The Journal reported that on Monday, 13 fewer ships were unloaded and loaded between the two ports, halting their operations.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach moved a record amount of cargo in 2021, up about 20% from a year earlier, the news outlet said.

During this time, the supply chain was pinched, causing product shortages and bare shelves at retailers which were unable to get meet consumer demand during the holidays, despite the Biden administration announcing that the two ports were moving to 24/7 operations.

The Port of Los Angeles has been swamped with containers
The Port of Los Angeles has been swamped with containers AFP / Apu GOMES