Vaccination Eligibility Set to Expand March 1
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed 162 new deaths and 2,394 new cases of COVID-19. To date, Public Health identified 1,171,664 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 19,368 deaths.
The seven-day average number of daily cases continues to decline; as of February 9, case numbers declined by 85% to an average of 2,230 cases per day.
There are 2,855 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 31% of these people are in the ICU. The three-day average number of people hospitalized peaked on January 8, with 8,000 daily hospitalizations. As of February 14, the average number of people currently hospitalized is 3,100, a 61% decrease.
The seven-day average number of daily deaths is also sharply declining. This number peaked at 229 on January 10, and declined to an average of 91 deaths per day on February 9, a 91% decrease.
These decreases are meaningful, and they are good news, but the numbers remain much higher than the numbers we saw in the autumn.
Today, Public Health has confirmed four additional cases of COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7. (U.K. variant), totaling 12 cases in Los Angeles County. With the reality that there are more infectious variants circulating in the state and our county, it has never been more important for each of us to keep distance and wear a mask whenever out of our homes and around people we don’t live with.
“Our hearts go out to the many people across the county who are in mourning for someone who has passed away from COVID-19. We are thinking of you each day,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. "I want to thank everyone for making this decline possible. While we share cautious optimism with others, we remain concerned that actions over Superbowl weekend and this past holiday weekend could lead to another increase in cases starting next week if individuals were not taking precautions. Each individual and business doing their part to contribute to this decline continues to be the key to reducing transmission in L.A. County. I understand waiting to be vaccinated requires enormous patience as we are all desperate to see this pandemic end. I am confident that in the weeks to come more vaccine will be available even if it is not as quickly as we’d like. Eventually, it will be everyone’s turn to be vaccinated and we are very much looking forward to the day when we can scale our vaccination efforts up to maximum capacity."
Nearly 1,541,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered across the county. Of those vaccinated, 399,642 people have received second doses. This means 5.1% of the County's population of 16 and older have now been fully vaccinated. Thirty-nine percent of residents 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine. At this time, vaccination continues to be only open to healthcare workers, residents and staff at long-term care facilities, and people who are age 65 or older which account for approximately 2.2 million people in L.A. County.
There continues to be a scarcity of supply and variability in the amount of vaccine received from week to week. Last week, we received 219,700 doses of vaccine, and the majority of vaccines were used to provide second doses. This week there are 391 vaccination sites administering vaccine in L.A. County, including large capacity vaccination sites like the ones at the Forum and Dodger Stadium and sites run by hospitals, pharmacies, health clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers. Together the County has the capacity for 500,000 appointment slots this week, however there are only enough doses to distribute less than half that; a little over 211,000 appointments. Our large capacity vaccination sites alone could be providing 168,000 additional doses if there was sufficient vaccine supply.
Once we begin receiving more vaccine doses, all L.A. County sites are ready to begin vaccinating many more people each day. Vaccinating residents and workers also works best when there are many different sites to meet the varied needs of our population. For this reason, both large sites and smaller sites operated by trusted community providers, pharmacies and Federally Qualified Health Centers are needed to ensure vaccines are easily accessible.
As Public Health prepares to open up eligibility for the vaccine to three additional sectors starting on March 1 - education and childcare, food and agriculture, and first responders and law enforcement – the County is working with partners to address challenges in vaccinating the more than 1.8 million workers that will be eligible for vaccine. This includes partnering with schools, unions, businesses, healthcare providers and community partners to set up sector specific vaccination sites. Jurisdictions that have food production and other factories are planning to set up sites for workers to be vaccinated near their workplace. Many school districts are already partnering with providers to create vaccination sites for their workforce, and in some cases, for teachers and staff from other districts or other schools. Employers and unions are also working on plans to provide their workforce with the vaccine.
The County continues to enhance efforts that can better meet the needs of seniors. Many older people in L.A. County may struggle to get to a site for a vaccine. Starting this week, mobile strike teams began visiting senior housing developments and senior centers to provide vaccines in locations where seniors are living or visiting regularly. We are also working with ride-hailing services to facilitate seniors accessing community vaccination sites and pharmacies are outreaching to their customers 65 years or older to offer them vaccination appointments at their site.
Residents are encouraged to visit the website, www.VaccinateLACounty.com and www.VacunateLosAngeles.com (Spanish) to sign up for available appointments, learn about the vaccination phases, determine when it is your turn to get vaccinated, and sign-up for our COVID-19 vaccine newsletter. Once it is your turn to be vaccinated, it will always be your turn. Your eligibility for a vaccine will not expire or go away, and you will not miss your window to be vaccinated once eligible.
Of the 162 new deaths reported today, 50 people who passed away were over the age of 80, 55 people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79, 49 people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64, six people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49, and one death is under investigation. One death was reported by the City of Long Beach.
L.A. County’s adjusted case rate has remained under 25 new cases per 100,000 people for more than five consecutive days, meeting the state requirements for schools to open on-site learning for grades TK through 6 if they are in full compliance with state and county directives. The list of schools that are permitted to open for in-class instruction for students grades TK-6 is posted on our website. This includes almost 300 schools already open under the previous waiver program, and an additional 173 schools and 12 school districts are permitted to open with approved COVID Safety Plans.
Testing results are available for nearly than 5,715,000 individuals with 19% of people testing positive. Today's daily test positivity rate is 5.5%.
The Reopening Protocols, COVID-19 Surveillance Interactive Dashboard, Roadmap to Recovery, Recovery Dashboard, and additional things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your community are on the Public Health website, www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.