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Vaccine supply continues to hinder roll-out- Plateau in LA cases as White House ramps up federal effort

The city has increased staffing to reduce wait times and make the process more efficient.

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Mayor Garcetti briefs reporters at Dodger Stadium Thursday. (Screenshot via KTLA)

LOS ANGELES – Speaking to reporters from Dodger Stadium, the city’s mega-vaccination site, Mayor Eric Garcetti acknowledged that the shortages in the vaccine supply was presenting some difficulties as the city and the county public health department strive to get the most vulnerable Angelenos, those 65 and older vaccinated.

The mayor said that he has been focused on propping up the city’s five new vaccination distribution centers, which this week joined others countywide in expanding availability to elderly at risk residents and continuing to vaccinate front line workers and healthcare workers.

Los Angeles County residents who are 65 and older will be able to sign up to get a COVID-19 vaccine in Los Angeles County which started this week. LA County and City residents can get an appointment for a vaccination here. Those without internet access can call a 24/7 call center at 833-540-0473.

Garcetti acknowledged that the County Public Health was in charge of the programs, noting that the pace of vaccinations depends on how many doses they get from the federal and state governments. Garcetti also said city officials are “working day and night” to expedite the process, reiterating that vaccine availability “is not and will never be in our direct control.”

The county has received 685,000 doses and nearly 350,000 have been administered through last week, Public Health said Wednesday. About 168,000 new doses will be arriving this week to be used at sites.

Blade Photo by Noah Christiansen

The city has increased staffing to reduce wait times and make the process more efficient. More than 80,000 people have gotten a shot at the five city-run sites since they first opened, including more than 46,600 this week — a 90% increase since last week, Garcetti said.

The Mayor also said that he expects the stadium site to be able to vaccinate up to 12,000 people a day once it’s operating at full capacity.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) confirmed 262 new deaths and 8,512 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday. There are currently 7,263 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19, and 23% of these people are in the ICU.

Public Health has identified 1,046,021 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 14,641 deaths. Last week, the seven-day average of new cases was 15,182. This week, the seven-day average of cases is 10,560, a decrease of 30 percent. Hospitalizations have also decreased this week, down 7 percent since last week Thursday. 

Only Los Angeles County healthcare workers in Phase 1A or County residents aged 65 and older are eligible to get their vaccination currently. Appointments are mandatory. With limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, vaccination appointments are near or at capacity at L.A. County vaccination sites. Those who are currently eligible are encouraged to check back often as there may be cancelations.

While the County is operating five large-scale vaccination sites, in addition to LA City’s vaccination site at Dodger Stadium, most residents will ultimately be vaccinated at doctor’s offices, clinics, pharmacies, and other licensed community vaccination sites as more vaccine becomes available.

“The process of getting everyone in L.A. county vaccinated will take several months and depends on vaccine availability. This is the most expansive vaccination campaign in recent history and further complicated by cold chain requirements and the need for two doses,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of Public Health.

“We are asking everyone to be patient while we work through the rollout of our currently limited supply of vaccine from the State. Our team is working very hard to ensure that once we receive vaccine doses they are distributed quickly through a vast network of private and public partners.”

In Washington, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki commenced the daily briefing by turning it over to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Chief Medical Advisor to the President Biden. Psaki told reporters that “Dr. Fauci is here with us as part of the President’s commitment to have public health experts lead our communication with the American people about the pandemic.”

Fauci briefed reporters on the state of the pandemic, the Vaccine roll-out efforts and then a brief educational sketch on the variants of the coronavirus in strains of the virus which had mutated. he then took a few questions.

Dr. Fauci briefs reporters Thursday, January 21, 2021. (Screenshot via C-SPAN)

One reporter quivered Fauci on the South Africa strain which has concerned health officials in the United States as well as the UK. “Dr. Fauci, a couple of questions, if I might.  I’d like to follow up with you on what you just said about this strain in South Africa.  Has that strain made its way to the United States?  And what, if any, concerns do you have?  How much do we understand about it?”

Fauci then responded,   “Great question.  Thus far, it does not appear at all that the South African strain is in the United States.  However, we must be honest and say that the level of comprehensive sequence surveillance thus far is not at the level that we would have liked.  So we’re going to be looking very, very carefully for it.  But given the information we have today, it doesn’t appear that the South African strain is here.

Asked about the pace of the vaccine roll-out, in particular President Biden’s statements that he wanted to see 100,000,000 (million) Americans vaccinated in the first 100 days of his administration, Fauci replied;  “Yes, it is.  I mean, I believe that the goal that was set by the President of getting 100 million people vaccinated in the first hundred days is quite a reasonable goal. 

And when you get to the point — and one of the things that I think is something we need to pay attention to — and I, quite frankly, have been spending a considerable amount of my own time — is outreaching particularly to minority communities to make sure that you get them to be vaccinated and you explain why it’s so important for themselves, their family, and their community. 

If we get 70 to 85 percent of the country vaccinated — let’s say by the end of the summer, middle of the summer — I believe by the time we get to the fall, we will be approaching a degree of normality.  It’s not going to be perfectly normal, but one that I think will take a lot of pressure off the American public.”

Psaki then laid out for reporters the actions that the president had taken prior to the briefing:

“So, as you know, just a few moments ago, the president also released a national COVID-19 strategy and signed 10 executive orders and other directives to move quickly to contain the crisis.
 
Underpinning everything the president signed today and everything we do every day will be equity.  Some highlights of those actions include an executive order to fill supply shortfalls for vaccinations, testing, and PPE.  The president directed agencies to exercise all appropriate authorities, including the Defense Production Act; to accelerate manufacturing and delivering of supplies, such as N95 masks, gowns, gloves, PCR swabs, test reagents, and necessary equipment and material for the vaccine. 

Biden signs COVID01 executive orders, Thursday, January 21, 2021 (Screenshot via C-SPAN)

Biden signed:

  • A presidential memorandum to increase federal reimbursement to states and tribes for the cost of National Guard personnel, emergency supplies, and the personnel and equipment needed to create vaccination centers
  • An executive order that established a COVID-19 pandemic testing board to bring the full force of the federal government’s expertise to expanding testing supply and increasing access to testing
  • An executive order to bolster access to COVID-19 treatments and clinical care, establishing a comprehensive and coordinated preclinical drug discovery and development program to allow therapeutics to be evaluated and developed in response to pandemic threats. 
President Biden speaks with reporters prior to signing executive orders.
(Screenshot via C-SPAN)

Biden also issued executive actions which included;

  • An executive order directing the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services to provide guidance on safe reopening and operating for schools, childcare providers, and institutions of higher education
  • An executive order on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to immediately release clear guidance for employers to help keep workers safe from COVID-19 exposure
  • An executive order to require mask wearing in airports or certain modes of public transportation, including many trains, airplanes, maritime vessels, and intercity buses
  • And an executive order establishing a COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force — something previously announced, but making it official today — to provide specific recommendations to the president for allocating resources and funding in communities with inequities in COVID-19 outcomes by race, ethnicity, geography, disability, and other considerations. 
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Coronavirus

Newsom announces end of the COVID-19 State of Emergency

California’s pandemic response efforts have saved tens of thousands of lives, kept people out of the hospital and protected the economy

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Secretary of the California Health & Human Services Agency, Dr. Mark Ghaly gives Gov. Gavin Newsom COVID-19 booster shot (Blade file photo)

SACRAMENTO – Today, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the COVID-19 State of Emergency will end on February 28, 2023, charting the path to phasing out one of the most effective and necessary tools that California has used to combat COVID-19.

This timeline gives the health care system needed flexibility to handle any potential surge that may occur after the holidays in January and February, in addition to providing state and local partners the time needed to prepare for this phaseout and set themselves up for success afterwards.

With hospitalizations and deaths dramatically reduced due to the state’s vaccination and public health efforts, California has the tools needed to continue fighting COVID-19 when the State of Emergency terminates at the end of February, including vaccines and boosters, testing, treatments and other mitigation measures like masking and indoor ventilation.

As the State of Emergency is phased out, the SMARTER Plan continues to guide California’s strategy to best protect people from COVID-19.

SMARTER Plan Progress Update

“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been guided by the science and data – moving quickly and strategically to save lives. The State of Emergency was an effective and necessary tool that we utilized to protect our state, and we wouldn’t have gotten to this point without it,” said Newsom. “With the operational preparedness that we’ve built up and the measures that we’ll continue to employ moving forward, California is ready to phase out this tool.”
 
To maintain California’s COVID-19 laboratory testing and therapeutics treatment capacity, the Newsom Administration will be seeking two statutory changes immediately upon the Legislature’s return: 1) The continued ability of nurses to dispense COVID-19 therapeutics; and 2) The continued ability of laboratory workers to solely process COVID-19 tests.

“California’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has prepared us for whatever comes next. As we move into this next phase, the infrastructure and processes we’ve invested in and built up will provide us the tools to manage any ups and downs in the future,” said Secretary of the California Health & Human Services Agency, Dr. Mark Ghaly. “While the threat of this virus is still real, our preparedness and collective work have helped turn this once crisis emergency into a manageable situation.”
 
Throughout the pandemic, Governor Newsom, the Legislature and state agencies have been guided by the science and data to best protect Californians and save lives – with a focus on those facing the greatest social and health inequities – remaining nimble to adapt mitigation efforts along the way as we learned more about COVID-19. The state’s efforts to support Californians resulted in:

  • Administration of 81 million vaccinations, distribution of a billion units of PPE throughout the state and processing of 186 million tests. 
  • Allocation of billions of dollars to support hospitals, community organizations, frontline workers, schools and more throughout the pandemic. 
  • The nation’s largest stimulus programs to support people hardest hit by the pandemic – $18.5 billion for direct payments to Californians, $8 billion for rent relief, $10 billion for small business grants and tax relief, $2.8 billion to help with overdue utility bills, and more.  

California’s pandemic response efforts have saved tens of thousands of lives, kept people out of the hospital and protected the economy:

  • California’s death rate is the lowest amongst large states. If California had Texas’ death rate, 27,000 more people would have died here. If California had Florida’s rate, that figure jumps to approximately 56,000 more deaths.
  • In only the first ten months of vaccines being available, a study showed that California’s efforts saved 20,000 lives, kept 73,000 people out of the hospital and prevented 1.5 million infections.  
  • California’s actions during the pandemic protected the economy and the state continues to lead the nation in creating jobs and new business starts:
    • ‘Lockdown’ states like California did better economically than ‘looser’ states like Florida, new COVID data shows,” with California’s economy having contracted less than such states – economic output shrank 3.5% on average for the U.S., compared with 2.8% for California.
    • Since February 2021, California has created 1,628,300 new jobs – over 16% of the nation’s jobs, by far more than any other state. By comparison, Texas created 1,133,200 jobs (11.3% of the nation’s) and Florida created 787,600 jobs (7.9% of the nation’s) in that same timeframe.
    • Since the beginning of 2019, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that over 569,000 businesses started in California, by far more than any other state.
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Coronavirus

L.A. County on track to bring back mandatory indoor masking

If LA county stays in CDC designated High Community Level for 2 consecutive weeks officials would implement a universal indoor masking

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health indicated that if the upward trend in coronavirus numbers continues, due to the increased circulation of the more infectious BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants coupled with increased community spread, officials may order a return to indoor masks.

On Friday, Public Health said that while the county currently remains at the CDC designated COVID-19 Medium Community Level. There are increasing concerns about the impact of new Omicron sub-variants on transmission and hospitalizations that could result in the County moving into the High Community Level designation sometime later this summer.

Barbara Ferrer, Director of LA County Public Health expressed concern and cautioned Angelenos as the region prepares for the July 4th holiday weekend.

“Since July 4 is right around the corner and many of us are looking forward to celebrating Independence Day with family and friends, it is important to remember that many of our loved ones may be older adults, or have serious underlying health conditions, or not yet been vaccinated and boosted,” Ferrer said.

“Given the rising number of COVID cases and hospitalizations, and the increased circulation of the more infectious BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, it is extra important to take steps that reduce the risk of transmission especially over the long holiday weekend; this helps us protect ourselves, our families, and our community,” She continued adding, “With a little planning, you can have a great time celebrating while keeping each other safe. Please be sure to remind friends and family to stay home and skip the celebration if they feel sick or have tested positive.  It is also a great idea for everyone to test themselves before getting together, ideally on the day of the gathering. It is always best to celebrate outdoors, and if people come indoors for part of the gathering, wearing a mask is advisable, particularly if there are individuals at high risk of severe illness should they become infected.”

LA County Public Health pointed out in a statement that six of the seven Early Alert metrics Public Health are tracking continue to convey cause for Medium or High Concern. Moreover, in the past week, four Early Alert Signals moved upward in the level of concern: The case rate in the lowest income areas and the number of new outbreaks at Skilled Nursing Facilities per week, both moved up to High Concern.

The number of new outbreaks in settings for People Experiencing Homelessness is now at Medium Concern. And the number of worksite clusters increased, moving from Medium to High Concern for the first time since Public Health started tracking this metric in early March.

There was also an uptick in the percentage of Emergency Department Visits. The only measure indicating Low Concern is the number of sewer systems with a two-fold increase in viral load.

The first of two hospital metrics in the CDC Community Levels Framework is the seven-day total of new hospital admissions per 100,000, which rose this past week to 8.1 admissions per 100,000 people. This is a 56% increase compared to one month ago. The second hospital metric, the seven-day average for the proportion of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, also increased this past week to 4.2%.

If the county moves into the CDC designated High Community Level and remains there for two consecutive weeks, the county would implement a universal indoor masking requirement for everyone age 2 and older in LA County as a safety measure aligned with the CDC framework. The safety measure would remain in effect until the county returned to the CDC Medium Community Level designation, or lower, for two consecutive weeks. 

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Coronavirus

CDC: 85% of gay & lesbian adults in U.S. are vaccinated against COVID

Data on COVID-19 vaccination among LGBTQ persons limited because of the lack of routine SOGI data collection at the national & state levels

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Photo Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/GSA

ATLANTA – A new study report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), found that found 85.4% of gay and lesbian Americans above age 18 had received at least one vaccine dose as of October 2021.

The study, conducted from August 29 until October 30, 2021, also found that by comparison, only 76.3% of heterosexuals reported receiving at least an initial dose by the same date.

The report noted that Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) populations have higher prevalence of health conditions associated with severe COVID-19 illness compared with non-LGBT populations.

The potential for low vaccine confidence and coverage among LGBT populations is of concern because these persons historically experience challenges accessing, trusting, and receiving health care services

Data on COVID-19 vaccination among LGBT persons are limited, in part because of the lack of routine data collection on sexual orientation and gender identity at the national and state levels.

In March of 2021, the Blade reported the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has revealed deep-seated inequities in health care for communities of color and amplifies social and economic factors that have contributed to those communities being hit hardest, and Mega-vaccination centers set up by California health officials and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have been addressing and tracking the issue- the LGBTQ communities are still not being tracked.

This lack of data collection has frustrated and angered California State Senator Scott Wiener who authored a bill last year that passed through the legislature and signed by Governor Gavin Newsom last Fall that mandates gathering sexual orientation and gender identity data related to the COVID testing in California.

“We’re one year into the pandemic, and LGBTQ people continue to be erased in our public health response to COVID-19 — similar to our invisibility throughout history. No government is successfully tracking COVID-19 cases in the LGBTQ community, despite a law I wrote mandating that California do so,” Weiner told the Blade. “And, we now know that LGBTQ people are more vulnerable to COVID-19. We’ve also just learned that vaccination demographic data doesn’t include LGBTQ data. It simply shocking that in 2021, progressive health agencies continue to forget about our community,” he added.

The CDC also noted that gay and lesbian adults were more likely to be concerned about COVID-19 and to believe in the safety and efficacy of vaccines.

“We know that the prevalence of certain health conditions associated with severe COVID-19 illness, such as cancer, smoking, and obesity, are higher in LGBT populations, and access to health care continues to be an issue for some people in the LGBT community,” Dr. A.D. McNaghten, a member of the CDC’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Team and corresponding author of the study, told ABC News. “We wanted to see if vaccination coverage among LGBT persons was the same as non-LGBT persons.”

The CDC data recorded that bisexual and transgender adults had similar vaccination rates to heterosexual adults with 72.6% of bisexual adults fully vaccinated by the end of October, as were 71.4% of transgender adults. The numbers however for Black and Hispanic lesbian women had lower rates of vaccination at 57.9% and 72.6%, respectively, compared to Black and Hispanic heterosexual women at 75.6% and 80.5%, respectively.

Higher percentages of gay or lesbian adults and bisexual adults reported that they thought COVID-19 vaccine was very or somewhat important to protect oneself (90.8% and 86.8%, respectively) compared with heterosexual adults (80.4%), and higher percentages of adults who identified as transgender or nonbinary reported they thought COVID-19 vaccine was very or somewhat important to protect oneself (83.2%) compared with those who did not identify as transgender or nonbinary (80.7%).

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White House orders distribution of 400 million free N95 masks

Dr. Tom Inglesby, the administration’s Covid testing coordinator; “We know that these masks provide better protection than cloth masks”

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President Joe Biden (Blade file photo/screenshot)

WASHINGTON – As the latest surge of the highly contagious and easily transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus continues to cause a rise in hospitalizations, especially among unvaccinated adults and children, the White House announced Wednesday it is making 400 million N95 masks available for free at thousands of locations across the nation.

The plan an admkistartion official said, is to start shipping the nonsurgical masks to pharmacies and community health centers to distribute this week, which will come from the Strategic National Stockpile.

In an interview with NBC News, Dr. Tom Inglesby, the administration’s Covid testing coordinator, said, “We know that these masks provide better protection than cloth masks.”

The N95 masks will be made available to everybody, and recipients will not be prioritized based on vulnerability to Covid, income or other criteria. Inglesby said the administration was “confident that people who want to access them will be able to access them,” but it was not immediately clear how many masks a person could receive at one time.

On January 13, President Joe Biden had announced a plan to have the government distribute 1 billion rapid, at-home COVID-19 tests free to Americans, along with the N95 masks, as the administration works to fight the spiraling upward spike in coronavirus cases.

The White House website to order free at-home Covid tests went live Tuesday. The website says: “Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID-19 tests. The tests are completely free. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days.”

A White House official said Wednesday that the distribution of 400 million masks would be the largest deployment of personal protective equipment in U.S. history.

Inglesby told NBC News that the administration was “absolutely preparing for the possibility of additional variants in the future” and that people could expect the government to make N95 masks “more and more available.”

Biden announces free masks, tests to fight omicron:

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COVID-19 Cases increase by nearly 10 times in one month

While hospitalizations continue to climb, Public Health data shows that many positive cases are admitted for reasons other than COVID

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Graphic courtesy of UCLA/Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

LOS ANGELES – A total of 31,576 new COVID-19 cases were documented on Monday — up ten times the number of cases reported on Dec. 17, 2021, when there were 3,360 new cases recorded the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported Monday.

There are  4,564 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized, nearly 6 times the number from one month ago when 772 people were hospitalized. The daily positivity rate is 16.5%, more than 8 times the 2% daily positivity rate on December 17th.

Just one week ago, the county surpassed 2 million total COVID-19 cases, with the figure reaching 2,289,045 cases as of Monday.

“On this national holiday where we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, we remember his deep commitment to health equity.  As Reverend King memorably said, ‘Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhuman because it often results in physical death,’ ” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of Public Health.

“Tragically, we have seen this play out in real life and very clearly over the past two years with the disparate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people of color. From the onset of the pandemic, communities of color have experienced the greatest devastation from COVID-19 in Los Angeles County and throughout the nation,” she added.

“The good news is that while hospitalizations continue to climb, Public Health data shows that many positive cases are admitted for reasons other than COVID but, are identified with COVID when tested for COVID upon hospital admission,” the health department said in a statement released last week.

As of Friday, more than 80% of all adult ICU beds in the county were occupied.

There are also 27 new deaths due to COVID-19 in Los Angeles County and 31,576 new positive cases.

The public health department also noted that while the number of children hospitalized with the virus remains low, the number of them admitted to L.A. County hospitals “significantly increased” over the past month, with the largest increase among children younger than 5 years old.

The increase mirrors trends seen nationwide for the age group — the only one not yet eligible for the vaccine.

The county also saw its highest coronavirus death rate in nearly 10 months over this past week, with an average of 40 COVID-19 deaths a day.

“From the onset of the pandemic, communities of color have experienced the greatest devastation from COVID-19 in Los Angeles County and throughout the nation. As we continue to implement strategies – enforcing worker protections through our Health Officer Orders, providing resources needed by many to survive the impact of the pandemic, funding community-based organizations in hard hit areas to serve as trusted public health messengers, and increasing vaccination access in under-sourced neighborhoods – we also need to come together to address the impact that racism, historical disinvestment, and social marginalization have on COVID-19 outcomes,” Ferrer said.

“While these conditions predate the pandemic, without deliberate collective actions to address the root causes of health inequities, we are unlikely to close the gaps we have documented for 2 long years,” she added.

California has recorded more than 7 million coronavirus cases after its fastest accumulation of reported infections in the history of the pandemic, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The unprecedented count, recorded in California’s databases late Monday, comes one week after the state tallied its 6 millionth coronavirus case.

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Coronavirus

Los Angeles County surpasses 2 million COVID cases

While hospitalizations continue to climb, Public Health data shows that many positive cases are admitted for reasons other than COVID

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Los Angeles Blade file photo

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County health officials are urging residents to postpone nonessential gatherings and avoid some activities – especially those that will include people who are unmasked, unvaccinated or at higher risk of severe COVID-19 illness.

This comes as Los Angeles County recorded a grim milestone Monday as the Department of Public Health reports that the County has now confirmed more than 2 million total cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. 

The Los Angele Times reported early Tuesday that hundreds of thousands of Los Angeles Unified students returned to campus from winter break Tuesday morning amid a record-breaking surge in coronavirus cases.

As they stood in long lines to enter campus, the district’s health-screening system crashed. These conditions, including staffing shortages, student absences, and apprehensive parents and students, put the district’s carefully laid plans to open campuses in the nation’s second-largest school district to the test.

Although some students and parents were anxious amid the Omicron surge, they said they wanted to be back in the classroom. District leaders said strict campus safely precautions are in place, the Times reported.

The surge, which has now created uncertainty in the business community as some restaurants and other retail operations close up due to staffing shortages or out of caution, prompted County Public Health to ask that residents postpone nonessential gatherings just ahead of the long Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend.

Public Health officials are also concerned as LA-based Super Bowl is a mere month away. The recommendation is voluntary and officials have not imposed any new restrictions that could put any events in jeopardy.

The latest Public Health data shows vaccines are still the best way to protect against the coronavirus. In L.A. County cases have continued to increase rapidly across all groups however at significantly lower levels for vaccinated individuals. For the week ending December 25th, case rates were much higher for those unvaccinated. There were 991 new cases per 100,000 unvaccinated; 588 cases per 100,000 fully vaccinated without boosters; and 254 cases per 100,000 fully vaccinated with boosters.

The vaccine also continues to provide very strong protection against hospitalization and death. One way to evaluate the protection offered by vaccines is rate ratios. These ratios compare rates of an outcome in unvaccinated people with rates of the same outcome in fully vaccinated people. The higher the rate ratio, the more protective the vaccine is against the outcome.

The hospital rate ratio was 9 when comparing those unvaccinated vs those fully vaccinated without boosters, meaning a 9-fold higher rate of hospitalization for the unvaccinated compared to this protected group. More markedly, the hospital rate ratio was 38 when comparing the unvaccinated vs fully vaccinated with boosters, meaning those fully vaccinated and boosted were 38 times less likely to be hospitalized than those unvaccinated.

“With surging transmission and rapidly rising cases and hospitalizations, our already understaffed health care providers are under enormous strain as they try to care for so many COVID infected people,” Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County Health Director said.

About 14% of the patients with COVID-19 were in the ICU, and 7% were on a ventilator.

“The good news is that while hospitalizations continue to climb, Public Health data shows that many positive cases are admitted for reasons other than COVID but, are identified with COVID when tested for COVID upon hospital admission,” the LA County Public Health Department said in a news release.

“However, at the moment, vaccinations alone are not sufficient to get us back to slowing the spread.  We all need to exercise more caution in the weeks ahead.  One effective strategy for reducing transmission is to wear a high-quality mask whenever around non-household members,” Ferrer said.

“Given the dominance of the highly infectious Omicron variant, well-fitting masks provide a great layer of protection to both the wearer and all those nearby. It is also time to pause those non-essential activities where people are unmasked and in close contact with others. The reality is that parties and events, especially those indoors, make it easy for the virus to spread. Limiting our time with others to those more essential work or school activities is a prudent action for us to take when-ever possible until the surge subsides,” she added.

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 

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