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New COVID-19 Cases Decline in L.A. County

The seven-day daily average testing positivity rate provides a more current picture of how many people tested positive. | Graph courtesy of L.A. County Public Health

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed 21 new deaths and 943 cases of COVID-19 on Monday. The lower number of deaths and cases may reflect reporting delays over the weekend. Monday’s daily test positivity rate was 3.4%.

The seven-day average number of daily cases peaked to more than 15,000 cases on Jan. 8 and has now dropped by 90% to 1,600 a day. If the county is to see a spike in cases from Super Bowl parties, it will see them this week.

“Half a million people have passed away across our nation, and here in L.A. County, we are approaching the terrible milestone of 20,000 deaths,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of Public Health. “We hope that people chose to celebrate the Super Bowl and the Presidents Day weekend safely, with members of their household.”

There are 2,213 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized, 31% of them in the I.C.U.

Residents at skilled nursing facilities are at great risk for serious illness and death from COVID-19, and along with healthcare workers, were among the first to receive COVID-19 vaccines. As of Feb. 14, 77% of staff and 74% of residents at skilled nursing facilities received their first dose of the vaccine. Of these people who received first doses, 83% of staff and 79% of residents received their second dose. With many more staff and residents vaccinated, new cases should continue to decline which will mean less outbreaks and less deaths.

As of Feb. 7, the seven-day average number of daily cases associated with skilled nursing facilities dropped from over 100 just four weeks ago, to five. As cases have decreased, the number of deaths among people at skilled nursing facilities has also dropped, and the current daily average number of deaths is seven. According to public health officials, these facilities did not experience the same steep surge that the rest of the county experienced in December and January.

“Should we continue to see less cases, we can move forward in our recovery, as lower-case rates allow for other sector re-openings,” Ferrer said. “Last week, the decline in the daily case rate allowed schools the option of reopening for in-class instruction for students in grades TK through six. When the case rate drops to seven new cases per 100,000, schools would have the option of allowing in class instruction for students in grades seven through 12.”

Nearly 1,771,000 doses of vaccine have been administered across the county. Of those vaccinated, 513,586 people have received second doses. Currently, only healthcare workers, residents and staff at long-term care facilities, and people who are age 65 or older, are eligible to be vaccinated and this accounts for approximately 2.2 million people in L.A. County. Of all those currently eligible for vaccine, 80% on average, have received at least one dose, and 23% are fully vaccinated.

Vaccine supplies remain scarce and shipments vary week to week, making planning difficult for health officials. The county has the capacity to administer almost 500,000 shots this week, but there are only enough doses for 209,000 vaccine appointments. The county’s large capacity vaccination sites alone could provide 157,000 additional doses this week if there was sufficient vaccine supply.

On March 1, three additional sectors become eligible to receive vaccinations: education and childcare, food and agriculture, and emergency services and first responders. The county is working to finalize vaccination strategies that offer multiple sites where eligible workers can get vaccinated. There are approximately 691,000 people in the education and childcare sector, 145,000 people in the emergency services and law enforcement, and 470,000 people in the food and agriculture sector eligible for a vaccine.

For information about vaccine appointments in L.A. County, visit: VaccinateLACounty.com (English) and VacunateLosAngeles.com (Spanish).

February 23, 2021

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