• two health workers sit on stairs exhausted

      Exhausted health workers (Photo – Huntington Hospital)

      This week, Los Angeles County remains in the High Community Level based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) designation, despite a decrease in reported cases. There was an average of nearly 2,920 cases reported per day, a nearly 20% decrease from the 7-day average of 3,639 cases reported per day last week.

      By News Desk

      As deaths and hospitalizations continue to rise in Los Angeles County, surpassing numbers seen at this time last year, Public Health officials are asking residents to play an important role in limiting the spread of COVID-19 during the holiday season.  They can

      • update their vaccines,
      • Mask indoors,
      • Test before gatherings, and
      • stay home when sick.

      Los Angeles County witnessed a troubling doubling in the reported 7-day average of deaths per day from 2 weeks ago, currently to 16 this week, including the county’s 20th confirmed pediatric death. This milestone is a somber reminder of the nearly 34,400 precious lives lost in Los Angeles County since the pandemic began.

      Although the number of reported COVID-19 cases declined slightly in Los Angeles County, they remain more than 120% higher than numbers observed one month ago and wastewater data reaffirms that transmission of COVID is currently high.

      Over the past seven days, the average number of daily COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals is 1,252, very slightly elevated from last week. As of Dec. 12, there were 242 available adult beds, the lowest number reported in the past four years. Contributing factors include high circulating rates of respiratory illnesses and less available staff.

      To minimize the transmission and impact of illness during the holidays, residents should think ahead about steps they can take to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the flu and other respiratory viruses. The new bivalent booster provides essential protection against severe illness associated with COVID and flu.

      Of the nearly 7.5 million county residents eligible for the bivalent booster, just 1.35 million residents have received it.  While the number remains low, more people are getting the new booster – up to 18% this week compared to 16% on Nov. 27.

      The new specially formulated bivalent booster for children 6 months through age 4 is now available in Los Angeles County. Previously, this booster was authorized only for children ages 5 and older. To maximize protection against COVID-19, dosing and eligibility for this new pediatric booster is dependent on the primary series the child receives.

      If you have questions about vaccinating your child, you can call the Department of Public Health Vaccine Call Center at 1-833-540-0473 open daily 8:00 am to 8:30 pm. Many vaccine sites received the new bivalent vaccines for young children this week. At the Public Health community sites, clinics, and mobile vaccine teams, staff are trained and have begun administering these new vaccines.

      To find a vaccine site, visit ph.lacounty.gov/howtogetvaccinated or residents can reach out to their provider. As a note, many general pharmacies do not vaccinate children under three years old so please check the Public Health website or contact your provider to find a site able to vaccinate young children.

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