LOS ANGELES:- The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) reports more than 4,000,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to people across Los Angeles County. Of those vaccinated, 1,323,686 people received second doses.
This translates to hundreds of thousands of people having an extra layer of protection from serious illness and death from COVID-19 in a little more than three months. This was possible thanks to countless partners across the county, including providers, community and faith-based organizations, elected officials, and many more, who dedicated countless hours and resources to the vaccination effort.
This week, 378,400 total doses were allocated to L.A. County. The County’s allocation for this week is higher than the 279,000 doses received last week, only 6,000 of which were the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. This week, the County received 54,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
While the number of doses received increased, the lack of supply remains the biggest obstacle, as the County could have easily booked almost 300,000 additional appointments this week but couldn’t because there weren’t enough vaccines.
Public Health remains committed to increasing the number of vaccination sites in the hardest hit communities in L.A. County. Of the total 546 vaccination sites across the county this week, 263 are located in the hardest hit communities, including 48 in South LA and 21 sites in the Antelope Valley, both areas which have some of the lowest vaccination rates in the county.
Starting tomorrow, April 1, any resident age 50 through 64 years old will become eligible for vaccination, even if they don’t have a qualifying medical condition or disability or work in an eligible sector. There are an estimated 2 million individuals within this age group living in Los Angeles County, 631,000 of whom have already received at least one dose of vaccine as of March 27. This means that an additional 1.4 million L.A. County residents become eligible to be vaccinated starting tomorrow. Please note that unless you work in L.A. County in one of the eligible work sectors, vaccinations for individuals 50 years old and older and for those individuals with underlying health conditions/disabilities are limited to residents of L.A. County.
Starting April 15, vaccines will become available to any resident in Los Angeles County who is 16 and older. There are 5 million residents in this age group, and Public Health estimates that 1 million have already been vaccinated with at least one dose. This leaves almost 3.9 million residents that will be eligible to be vaccinated in just a couple of weeks. This will be the largest number of people becoming eligible at any one time since the vaccination effort began in mid-December.
Public Health is projecting an increase in doses over the next month, including doses allocated directly from federal partners and the state to pharmacies, health clinics, FEMA sites, and multi-county entities, such as Kaiser and UCLA. By the end of April, we hope to receive 700,000 vaccine doses a week, which will greatly increase our ability to vaccinate those who are anxiously waiting for an appointment slot.
If L.A. County receives on average 576,000 doses a week starting in April, the County can expect to reach 80% vaccine coverage for people 16 and older in just 12 weeks.
Reaching such a milestone is possible with increased allocations, and it would dramatically change the trajectory of the pandemic here in Los Angeles County. In preparation for increased allocations and expanded eligibility, Los Angeles County is working on expanding collective capacity to be able to administer 1 million doses a week by the end of April.
Visit: www.VaccinateLACounty.com (English) and www.VacunateLosAngeles.com (Spanish) for more information on who is eligible, how to make an appointment if it is your turn, and what verifications you will need when you show up for your vaccine. As a reminder, vaccinations are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status.
Today, Public Health has confirmed 40 new deaths and 648 new cases of COVID-19. To date, Public Health identified 1,219,562 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 23,143 deaths.
There are 638 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 25% of these people are in the ICU. Testing results are available for more than 6,092,000 individuals with 19% of people testing positive. Today’s daily test positivity rate is 1.6%.
Public Health continues to identify variant cases in Los Angeles County. Among 49 specimens analyzed at the Public Health Laboratory this past week, 21 cases, or 43% of the specimens analyzed, were the California variant of concern, identified as B.1.427 or 429, and 20 cases, or 40% of the specimens analyzed, were the U.K. variant of concern, B.1.1.7. These two variants represent 84% of the variants identified this past week, both of which are variants of concern with the probability of increased transmissibility and more severe disease. Los Angeles County has yet to identify cases of the South African variant or the Brazilian variant of concern, the P.1 variant. Other variants identified this week include one case of the New York variant and two cases of the Brazilian variant of interest P.2.
With the California and the U.K. variants becoming the dominant variants in the sampled specimens, it is increasingly important that we adhere to safety measures such as masking, social distancing, and regular routine handwashing to avoid increasing the chances that these variants circulate more widely.
Of the 40 new deaths reported today, 16 people that passed away were over the age of 80, 14 people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79, six people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64, and three people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49. One death was reported by the City of Long Beach.
“Our deepest sympathies go out to everyone who has lost a loved one or friend from COVID-19 this past year. So many have experienced unthinkable tragedy and we mourn each person no longer with us,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “After many weeks of falling cases, it is understandable that people feel like it is safe to meet up with friends or family, go to a gathering, or not wear their mask at all times. Unfortunately, we are not yet out of the woods. Any rise in cases will not just force a step back in our recovery, it will surely lead to more transmission and the wider circulation of the more infectious variants of concerns. While many of those most vulnerable for serious illness and death have been vaccinated, about 50% of L.A. County residents 16 and older have not yet received their first dose and are at risk if they become infected of infecting others, ending up hospitalized, and tragically, dying. Let’s not gamble with anyone’s future when we can clearly see a time very soon in the future when most of us will have an extra layer of protection from severe illness and death. The choices we make today will become apparent in 2 to 3 weeks. I ask all of you to make the right choice by doing everything you can to save your life or the life of a loved one.”
Public Health is tracking outbreaks where many people have been vaccinated at healthcare settings, skilled nursing facilities, and other long-term care and residential settings. When the surge began in late October and early November, outbreaks at long-term care facilities, skyrocketed 1,300% from 13 outbreaks the week of October 25 to 189 outbreaks the week of December 6. Skilled nursing facilities experienced a 234% increase in outbreaks during the surge, from 26 outbreaks the week of October 25 to 87 outbreaks the week of December 6 outbreaks. Healthcare settings also saw more outbreaks during the surge, from 13 outbreaks in late October to 31 outbreaks in early December.
When the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were approved for emergency use in mid-December, the County prioritized staff and residents at long-term care facilities and frontline healthcare workers as the first to receive the vaccine. Once Public Health began administering the vaccine, outbreaks at these settings plummeted, with outbreaks at long-term care and residential settings dropping from 189 outbreaks in early December to just 7 outbreaks in mid-February. Outbreaks at skilled nursing facilities also dropped significantly, from 87 outbreaks in early December to only 10 outbreaks in mid-February. Outbreaks at health care facilities dropped from 31 in early December to 1 by mid-February.
This data provides a real-life example of the power of the current vaccines; while outbreaks do decrease with less community transmission, the magnitude of these declines most likely indicates that vaccines provide significant protection against transmission even in very high-risk settings.
County Reopening Protocols, COVID-19 Surveillance Interactive Dashboard, Roadmap to Recovery, Recovery Dashboard, and additional actions you can take to protect yourself, your family and your community are on the Public Health website, www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.
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