LOS ANGELES:- The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed 93 new deaths and 2,741 new cases of COVID-19. The lower number of deaths and cases may reflect reporting delays over the weekend. To date, Public Health identified 1,149,064 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 18,135 deaths.
The number of people passing away from COVID-19 remains distressingly high. Yesterday, Sunday, February 7, Los Angeles County marked another tragic milestone by surpassing 18,000 COVID-19 deaths. The County has experienced more than 1,000 new COVID-19 deaths since February 2, when the County reported 17,057 total deaths.
The average number of daily cases and current hospitalizations is, however, decreasing. The seven-day average number of daily cases peaked on January 8 with more than 15,000 cases and has now dropped by 77% to less than 5,000 a day. There are 4,186 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 29% of these people are in the ICU. As of February 5, there were 4,608 average daily hospitalizations; a decrease of 45% from the peak of 8,065 average daily hospitalizations in early-January.
Of the 93 new deaths reported today, 41 people who passed away were over the age of 80, 22 people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79, 21 people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64, and six people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49. Three deaths were reported by the City of Pasadena.
“We offer our condolences to everyone who is mourning the loss of a loved one or a friend. You are not alone during these difficult times as our prayers and thoughts are with you and your families,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “We are undertaking multi-faceted efforts at the Department of Public Health to both slow the transmission of this deadly virus as well as to guide the complex and important effort to vaccinate our many and diverse communities. Both efforts rely on cooperation and commitment from every resident in the County. Collectively, we have responsibility for keeping each other alive while we wait our turns to get vaccinated. Nothing this past year has been easy or simple – yet much has been accomplished: we know to protect ourselves and others and we have an effective vaccine.”
Public Health is receiving demographic data from the state vaccination registry that helps the County analyze who is getting vaccinated and where gaps are occurring. This data helps us reallocate supplies, including additional outreach and education resources, to ensure there is an equitable distribution of the vaccine. Data analyzed to date includes doses administered through February 4, and includes vaccinations for healthcare workers, residents and staff at long term care facilities, and residents aged 65 and older who began getting vaccinated on January 20.
About 25% of all vaccine doses were administered to White residents, 25% to Latino/Latinx residents, 18% to Asian residents, and 17% to residents who identify as multi-racial. African American /Black residents have received only 3.5% of all administered doses highlighting a glaring inadequacy in the vaccine roll-out to-date. Examining data on vaccinations of residents 65 and older indicates that 20% of this age group have received at least one dose of vaccine. However, we are alarmed by the disproportionality we are seeing in who is receiving the vaccine; American Indian/Native Alaskan (9.3%), Black/ African American (7.2%), and Latino/Latinx residents (14.3%) have lower vaccination rates than White (29.4%), Asian (18.2%) and Pacific Islander residents(29.4%). This early data shows us that we need to make it much easier for American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/ African American and Latino/Latinx residents and workers to be vaccinated in their communities by providers they trust. This is a top priority for the Department of Public Health and we will continue to work with our community partners to ensure that we are not only getting everyone vaccinated quickly, but we are addressing the need to provide easier access to neighborhood sites and accurate information about the vaccines.
One of Public Health’s commitments is to increase the number of vaccination sites in hard-hit communities. In total, there are 365 sites offering vaccinations this week. This includes 129 federally qualified health clinics, 208 pharmacies, 16 hospitals, and six community sites run by the City and County. Ten additional vaccination sites were added this week in East LA and South LA, bringing the total number to 49 vaccination sites in these two communities.
Public Health is also working on strategies that improve access to vaccine for people who are older with limited mobility and needing assistance securing appointments. The department is organizing mobile teams to bring vaccinations directly to seniors living in housing developments or accessing senior centers in our hardest-hit communities. Community health workers in the highly impacted communities will also go block by block to provide information to residents about how to get vaccinated while dispelling myths and misinformation about the vaccine. In addition, we are working to support our neighborhood vaccination sites, and, as of today, have placed 60 volunteers from various universities at sites to provide assistance with data entry, cold-chain support and licensed clinical vaccinators.
Scheduling an appointment right now is challenging because of the limited supply of vaccines that the County is receiving on a weekly basis. If you are currently eligible to receive a vaccine, Public Health encourages you to pull information together before going online or calling our call center. If you have insurance, have your insurance information at hand, along with the name and contact information for your primary care physician. You do not need to have insurance to get vaccinated. If you can, visit www.VaccinateLACounty.com and to find the vaccination site closest to you, click on the MyTurn button where you can see how appointments are made. The MyTurn site also allows you to sign up to be notified when appointments open up, and when vaccinations begin with additional priority groups.
Additional staff have been assigned to the call center to help those without computer access make appointments. For those without access to a computer or the internet, or with disabilities, the call center is open to help schedule appointments daily from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. at 833-540-0473. The call center uses the same system as the online system and is a low-tech way for those with accessibility needs and older people who may not have a computer or a smart phone, to make an appointment.
Although new cases of COVID-19 are declining, COVID-19 widespread transmission is still having an impact on healthcare workers and first responders. This past week, 840 healthcare workers tested positive for COVID-19. Since the pandemic began, 36,162 healthcare workers and first responders tested positive for COVID-19. Slightly over half of the cases are among Latino/Latinx healthcare workers and 65% of cases are among women. There have been a total 191 deaths among healthcare workers. Fifty-six percent of these deaths occurred among men which is an overrepresentation of deaths, since the majority of cases are among women. More than 77% of deaths are among healthcare workers who are age 50 and older; 47% are among Latino/Latinx healthcare workers and 31% are among Asian healthcare workers. The vast majority, 83%, of healthcare workers who passed away had underlying health conditions.
Testing results are available for more than 5,612,000 individuals with 19% of people testing positive. Today’s daily test positivity rate is 7.1%.
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