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Vaccination Requirement for Healthcare Workers Goes into Effect Today

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) closely monitors community outbreaks as the Delta variant comprises 100% of all variants sequenced by the Public Health lab.

The highest numbers of outbreaks among vulnerable people in healthcare and residential settings over the last few months have been in settings serving people experiencing homelessness (40). Meanwhile, outbreaks at skilled nursing facilities (21), other long-term care facilities (15), and healthcare settings (1), where vaccination rates are relatively high, have been relatively low. These differences are real- time evidence of the protective effect of vaccines among our most vulnerable residents.

Over the last few months, the highest numbers of outbreaks at work sites have been in accommodation and food services settings (26), with elevated numbers in retail (25), manufacturing (13), transport and warehouse settings (20). The numbers of these outbreaks have fallen as community case rates have decreased; accommodation and food services settings (1), retail (1), manufacturing (6), and transport and warehouse settings (1).

Public Health continues to closely follow disease transmission at schools. Weekly student cases increased in August from about 1,300 to a peak of nearly 2,800 cases the week ending August 22. The number of student close contacts increased correspondingly to a peak of nearly 11,000 by the end of August. Both student cases and contacts have since decreased substantially; last week, the County saw 829 student cases and 3,100 student close contacts. Meanwhile, staff numbers have also decreased weekly from their high point of 403 staff cases and 493 staff close contacts in mid-August: last week, there were only 109 staff cases and 26 staff close contacts.

While overall case numbers in schools are trending downward, the number of outbreaks has increased slightly over the last few weeks, from 11 outbreaks the week ending September 18, to 12 outbreaks the week ending September 25. Youth sports account for most outbreaks, although the County is seeing some outbreaks in elementary, middle, and high schools. These numbers are impressively low given that 3,000-plus schools are now open countywide.

Today, Public Health confirms 28 new deaths and 1,535 new cases of COVID-19. Of the 28 new deaths reported today, 10 people who passed away were over the age of 80, 12 people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79, two 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. To date, Public Health identified 1,459,182 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 26,106 deaths.

There are 871 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 29% of these people are in the ICU. This is a decrease of 120 daily hospitalizations over the past week. Among residents 12 and older, unvaccinated people are 15 to more than 20 times likelier to be hospitalized than vaccinated residents 12 and older.

Testing results are available for nearly 8,640,000 individuals with 16% of people testing positive. Today’s test positivity rate is 1.6%.

There are various vaccination verification requirements affecting L.A. County residents and workers. Today, September 30, is the deadline for health care and home health care workers across L.A. County to be fully vaccinated. Earlier this week, the state issued a new order requiring workers in adult and senior care facilities and in home direct care settings to be fully vaccinated by November 30. L.A. County employees have until October 1 and L.A. City employees have until October 5.

On October 7, proof of full vaccination or a negative test result will be required to enter outdoor mega events, and proof of at least one dose of the vaccine will be required to enter or work in indoor portions of bars, lounges, nightclubs, breweries, wineries, and distilleries in L.A. County. On November 4, bars and similar establishments throughout L.A. County will be required to verify full vaccination of all patrons and employees prior to entry to indoor portions of their establishments.

Under a state order, TK-12 school staff are required to be vaccinated by October 15 or test weekly. LAUSD students participating in extracurricular activities must be fully vaccinated by October 31, and Culver City students are required to be vaccinated by November 19. All LAUSD students 12 and over must be fully vaccinated by December 19. President Biden’s executive order requires federal workers to be fully vaccinated by November 22.

"Our hearts and thoughts are with those of you who have lost friends and loved ones during this difficult time,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “As we go through the next couple of months, helping organizations and establishments comply with vaccination requirements will be a focus for our public health teams. We continue to see high rates of compliance with other safety measures and anticipate similar cooperation with the implementation of the vaccination verification requirements. Targeted vaccination requirements are a critical strategy for keeping people safe – and they have a lot in common with many other public health measures employed to protect people from harm. Unvaccinated persons are more likely to get infected and spread the virus, which is transmitted through the air. The goal of these targeted vaccination mandates is to reduce the risks to keep everyone safe while moving us as quickly as possible toward the end of the pandemic.”

With cases declining in communities and schools, the County can focus on increasing vaccination rates as quickly as possible to avoid the disruption that would come with future waves of infection.

As of September 26, 92% of L.A. County residents 65 and over have received at least one dose of the vaccine, 78% of residents 16 and over and 77% of residents 12 and over. Sixty-nine percent of residents 12 and over have been fully vaccinated. Sixty-seven percent of L.A. County teens between the ages of 12 and 17 received at least one dose and 59% are fully vaccinated. Out of the nearly 10.3 million L.A. County residents, including those who are not yet eligible for the vaccine, 66% have received at least one dose, and 59% are fully vaccinated. Millions of eligible residents remain unvaccinated.

Last Friday, September 24, the County began administering booster doses as well as the additional doses administered to immunocompromised people. Countywide, a total of nearly 105,930 third doses have been administered by L.A. County providers.

The County continues to send hundreds of mobile vaccination teams into neighborhoods where unvaccinated people live and work to administer first, second, and third doses of vaccines. Ninety-five percent of mobile unit visits scheduled this week will be offering Pfizer vaccines, including boosters, and 704 fixed sites are offering Pfizer boosters. Over the coming weeks, Public Health mobile teams will be targeting communities with limited access to Pfizer doses to ensure that access to boosters is easy across the county.

Vaccinations are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status. Anyone 12 and older living or working in L.A. County can get vaccinated. Boosters are available for eligible individuals at all sites offering the Pfizer vaccine. Many vaccination sites across the county, including all the County-run sites, are also offering third doses of vaccine to eligible immunocompromised people. Appointments are not needed at all Public Health vaccination sites where first, second, and third doses are available.

Visit: www.VaccinateLACounty.com (English) andwww.VacunateLosAngeles.com (Spanish) to find a vaccination site near you, make an appointment at vaccination sites, and much more. If you don’t have internet access, can’t use a computer, or you’re over 65, you can call 1-833-540-0473 for help finding an appointment, connecting to free transportation to and from a vaccination site, or scheduling a home-visit if you are homebound.

COVID-19 Sector Protocols, Best Practices, COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard, COVID-19 Surveillance Interactive Dashboard, 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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