LA County Sees COVID Case Rate Drop 90% Since Early January As Vaccination Efforts Continue – CBS Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Monday reported 943 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases and 21 deaths, bringing countywide totals to 1,181,403 cases and 19,904 deaths.

Of the 21 new deaths, five people who died were over the age of 80, six people were between the ages of 65 and 79, seven people were between the ages of 50 and 64, two people were between the ages of 30 and 49 and one person was between the ages of 18 and 29.

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The seven-day average number of daily cases, which peaked on Jan. 8 with more than 15,000 cases, has dropped 90% to 1,600 per day. Public Health said the sharp decline was due to actions and choices by millions of residents, workers and employers, but cautioned that increases might be coming this week resulting from gatherings over Super Bowl weekend.

“Should we continue to see less cases, we can move forward in our recovery, as lower case rates allow for other sector re-openings,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, county public health director, 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 6. When the case rate drops to 7 new cases per 100,000, schools would have the option of allowing in class instruction for students in grades 7 through 12.”

And though cases and deaths have been trending downward in recent weeks, health officials said the lower number of deaths and cases reported Monday might reflect weekend reporting delays.

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Public Health also said it was continuing vaccination efforts, despite continued lack of supply.

Health officials said nearly 1,771,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered across the county, including 513,586 second doses. To date, the county has received 1,831,075 doses of vaccine.

“The County has capacity for almost 500,000 appointment slots this week, however there are only enough doses for 209,000 appointments,” Public Health said. “Our large capacity vaccination sites alone could provide 157,000 additional doses this week if there was sufficient vaccine supply.”

That shortage also forced the six Los Angeles city-run sites to close last week, but they were expected to reopen Tuesday — prioritizing second doses and those who had appointments canceled.

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As of Monday, only healthcare workers, residents and staff of long-term care facilities and people over the age of 65 are eligible to be vaccinated in L.A. County. Of those currently eligible, Public Health said 80% have received at least one dose and 23% have been fully vaccinated.

Starting March 1, vaccine eligibility will be expanded to three additional sectors: education and childcare, food and agriculture and emergency services and first responders.

More information about vaccine eligibility and appointments in L.A. County can be found online in both English and Spanish.

As of Monday, there were 2,213 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, 31% of whom were being treated in intensive care units. With testing results available for nearly 5,771,000 people, the county’s overall positivity rate was 19%, though the daily positivity rate had fallen to 3.4%.