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Los Angeles County Takes Steps to Address Omicron Variant

Public Health is reporting that COVID-19 cases among people experiencing homelessness decreased for the second month in a row. These results are likely to reflect increases in vaccination coverage. As of Nov. 17th, 33,907 homeless individuals have been fully vaccinated and 1,686 have received a booster or additional dose. Of the total doses administered, 86% were mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna,) and of those starting an mRNA dose, 80% have already completed their second dose.

For the week ending Nov. 14th, there were 44 confirmed cases, down from the 63 cases reported the week of Oct.11th.

Today, Public Health confirmed 17 additional deaths and 1,942 new cases of COVID-19. Of the 17 new deaths reported today, seven people who passed away were over the age of 80, five people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79, three people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64, and two people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49 and all had underlying conditions. To date, Public Health has identified 1,532,430 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 27,225 deaths.

There are 569 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized. Testing results are available for more than 9,468,226 individuals, with 15% of people testing positive. Today’s test positivity rate is 1%.

This past week, Public Health has been tracking the emergence and spread of Omicron, labeled a variant of concern by both the WHO and the CDC. Yesterday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) received confirmation of its first case of COVID-19 with mutations consistent with the new Omicron variant (B.1.1.529). The individual returned to Los Angeles County after travel to South Africa via London on 11/22/2021. This infection is most likely travel-related.

Getting vaccinated or boosted remains critical as holiday traveling and gatherings begin. The vaccines are effective against the Delta variant and earlier strains of the virus, which allows us to remain hopeful that the approved vaccines will also provide some protection against Omicron. All residents across LA County should continue adhering to the masking requirements and wear a mask when indoors or at large outdoor mega events - regardless of vaccination status. Individuals should also wear a mask when at any crowded indoor or outdoor events.

Testing is an important tool in early detection of infection to reduce spread and Public Health encourages residents who have traveled for the holidays to get tested if they traveled internationally or to locations in this country with high transmission rates. Beginning today, international travelers arriving at the LAX international terminal are being offered free rapid COVID-19 tests and information on federal recommendations for quarantining and testing.

Residents should also get tested if they participated at gatherings and events with large numbers of people, some of which may be unvaccinated. Residents are reminded that they are legally required to be isolated if they have a positive COVID test result and that vaccinated close contacts with symptoms and unvaccinated close contacts need to be quarantined.

I send my heartfelt condolences to everyone mourning the loss of a loved one to COVID-19,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “As we enter winter and face the Omicron variant, using what we have learned over the past 2 years will make a big difference for friends and families preparing to gather for the holidays and those most at-risk. We are grateful to our partners for the encouraging trends, as at least 80% of people experiencing homelessness have received their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, and appreciate the continued efforts to improve coverage.”

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and are recommended for everyone 5 years old and older to help protect against COVID-19. Vaccinations are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status. Appointments are not needed at all Public Health vaccination sites and many community sites where first, second, and third doses are available.

To find a vaccination site near you, or to make an appointment, please visit:

  • www.VaccinateLACounty.com (English) or www.VacunateLosAngeles.com (Spanish).

If you need assistance you can also call 1-833-540-0473 for help:

  • Finding an appointment

  • Connect to free transportation to and from a vaccination site, or

  • Schedule a home-visit if you are homebound.

For more information regarding COVID-19 in LA County you can also visit the Public Health website at www.publichealth.lacounty.gov here you will find information on:

  • COVID-19 sector protocols & best practices,

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboards, and

  • COVID-19 Surveillance Interactive and, Recovery Dashboards

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