Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidance indicating that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely resume activities that were done prior to the pandemic. L.A. County and the state will review the recommendations in order to make sensible adjustments. In the interim, please note that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask when indoors around other fully vaccinated people, or outside in uncrowded areas. When at businesses and in crowded venues, both indoors and outdoors, masks are still required to be worn by everyone.
It remains important to protect workers at all worksites and all worksites must follow the requirements set forth by California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, Cal/OSHA. Everyone must continue to adhere to required distancing and masking at all workplaces. Until Cal/OSHA changes these requirements, the County cannot be less restrictive. Proposed changes to Cal/OSHA’s workplace safety standards were posted for consideration at the May 20 standards board meeting. We expect to hear more about these changes once the standards board meets next week.
Thursday, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed 17 new deaths and 284 new cases of COVID-19. Of the 17 new deaths reported Thursday, six people that passed away were over the age of 80, five people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79, five people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64, and one person who died was between the ages of 18 and 29.
To date, Public Health identified 1,236,456 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 24,057 deaths. There are 375 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 22% of these people are in the ICU. Testing results are available for more than 6,611,000 individuals with 17% of people testing positive. Thursday’s daily test positivity rate is 0.6%.
Wednesday, the CDC affirmed the recommendation by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to expand the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents 12 to 15 years of age, which represents nearly 500,000 individuals in L.A. County. Vaccinations sites across L.A. County began vaccinating younger teens today, and all eight County sites are offering Pfizer for younger teens as of this morning. At the County sites, and many other sites, appointments are available and walk-ins are welcome. Please note that many sites require that children be accompanied by a parent or guardian or that the child is accompanied by a responsible adult and has a signed consent form. Teens are also required to bring proof of their age at sites where they are not known to the provider. Visit the Public Health website for a map and list of sites offering Pfizer vaccines.
Schools are key partners for vaccinating everyone in a community, including newly eligible students, and the County has partnered with 60 schools to date to get vaccines into the arms of the L.A. County residents who need it most. Most of the partner schools are based in the communities hard hit by COVID-19. Of the schools currently vaccinating, 37 are already administering the Pfizer vaccine in their clinics – which means they are able to vaccinate children as well as adults.
As of May 9, more than 8,629,646 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to people across Los Angeles County. Of these, 5,194,588 were first doses and 3,435,058 were second doses.
Among people 65 and older, 83% have received at least one dose and 68% have received two doses. The County continues to make strides reducing gaps in vaccination rates among those 65 and older. Between April 9 and May 9, the proportion of Latino/Latinx seniors who have received at least one dose of the vaccine increased by 9%, Black/African American seniors by 8%, American Indian and Alaska Native and Asian seniors by 5%, and White seniors by over 4%.
Overall, 52% of residents 16 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine and the past month has seen a lot of progress in adults of all ages in communities of color. The County has gone from 30% of Latinx adults vaccinated to 43%, a relative increase of 41%, from 54% to 68% of Asian adults vaccinated, and from 30% to 38% of Black adults vaccinated, both with relative increases of 26%. Rates among American Indian and Alaskan native adults also increased from 47% to 58%, a relative increase of 24%, and White adults increased from 51% to 61%, a relative increase of 20%. And while these are all gratifying to witness, there is still so much work to do to improve vaccination rates among Latinx and Black residents.
If you want a vaccine but are having a hard time getting away from work to get one, Public Health will work to get a vaccine to you. Employers and workers are encouraged to fill out the COVID-19 Mobile Vaccine Team Interest Form to express interest in having a mobile vaccine unit come out to your business or workplace to provide vaccines to groups of employees. The form can be found on www.VaccinateLACounty.com.
“Our hearts are aching for all those who have lost their loved ones, friends and co-workers and we are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “Here in L.A. County, we need to continue to get vaccines into the arms of people that most need the vaccine, and we will remain focused on this work to ensure distribution of the vaccine is equitable. Although celebrity influencers do change some minds on vaccination, what has an enormous impact on making a decision to get vaccinated is simply knowing another person who’s been vaccinated. By sharing both the knowledge that gave you confidence in the vaccine and the gratifying sense of relief you felt after receiving it, you can help others make their own decision. You don’t have to be famous to inform your friends and family, to invite others to be part of this movement, to influence others’ health. You just need to speak up and share.”
The County continues to collaborate with community-based organizations to serve as trusted leaders engaging residents in hard-hit communities, providing them with updated COVID-19 health information and connecting them to vaccination resources and community supports. In partnership with Community Health Councils, Inc., the County is continuing the Community Health Worker Outreach Initiative and will fund 13 to 16 community-based organizations for a total of $18 million to provide health outreach and education. Through this effort, from November 2020 through March 2021, over 900 community health workers were trained and deployed to conduct COVID-19 outreach in the hardest hit communities. Through the Vaccine Equity Partnership Grant, the County funded 41 organizations for a total of $15 million, and through the COVID-19 Community Equity Fund, a Department of Health Services and Public Health effort, 29 community-based organizations were also funded. Through the Grassroots Grants for Vaccine Equity fund, the County will offer $5,000 microgrants to community-based organizations/faith-based organizations facilitating vaccination efforts. These grants are assisting and supporting over 100 community-based organizations and thousands of their staff in providing outreach, contact tracing and system navigation to communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
Public Health will host a Vaccine Town Hall for Parents on Tuesday, May 18, at 6:00 p.m. Join the town hall to get the latest updates on the COVID-19 vaccine, including information for children. The town hall will be streamed live on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube @lapublichealth. For more information and to submit a question, visit: tinyurl.com/VaxTownHall4Parents.
To find a vaccination site near you, to make an appointment at vaccination sites, and much more, visit: www.VaccinateLACounty.com (English) and www.VacunateLosAngeles.com (Spanish). 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 or scheduling a home-visit if you are homebound. Vaccinations are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status.
County Reopening Protocols, COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard, COVID-19 Surveillance Interactive Dashboard, Roadmap to Recovery, 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.