L.A. County Issues Health Officer Order for Healthcare Worker Vaccinations

23 New Deaths and 3,865 New Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County

LOS ANGELES, Calif. Aug 12 – The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) issued a Health Officer Order today requiring that healthcare workers working in L.A. County be fully vaccinated by September 30 of this year.

This Order aligns with the State Order and applies to volunteers, contractors, and students, in addition to part and full-time employees and health care facilities. The County Order also includes emergency medical technicians and paramedics, dental office workers, and home health workers. Exemptions to this requirement will be allowed only for qualifying medical or religious reasons, and exempt workers must be tested one to two times a week depending on the type of facility in which they work. Additionally, exempt workers must wear respiratory protection at all times. This can be in the form of medical grade masks or respirators such as N95s.

Today, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to amend its emergency use authorization for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to allow people with compromised immune systems to get a third, booster dose of the vaccines. This recommendation is based on several studies showing that people on immunosuppressive medication’s develop low or no levels of protection after two doses of vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices could vote on recommending third doses to immunocompromised people as early as tomorrow. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) will be working with the State to prepare for implementation of the expanded authorization.

Today, Public Health confirms 23 new deaths and 3,865 new cases of COVID-19. Of the 23 new deaths reported today, six people who passed away were over the age of 80, seven people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79, seven people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64, and two people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49. One death was reported by the City of Long Beach. To date, Public Health identified 1,339,138 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 24,854 deaths.

The County’s average case rate, with a 3-day lag, is 27.8 cases per 100,000 people, a significant increase from last week’s same-day rate of 21.1 cases per 100,000. Cases have been reported at an average rate of more than 3,000 cases a day for about the past week.

Testing results are available for nearly 7,600,000 individuals with 16% of people testing positive. Today’s test positivity rate is 4.5%, a slight decrease from last week’s same-day rate of 4.7%. As schools and institutes of higher education return to session and their routine testing programs come back online, we expect to see hundreds of thousands more test results each week and in parallel with those, increases in cases.

There are 1,648 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 22% of these people are in the ICU. Comparing August 4 with July 4, hospitalizations rose by 366%.

The Delta variant now accounts for nearly all the COVID-19 strains seen among samples sequenced in the Los Angeles County area, last week comprising 99% of all sequenced strains. The Delta variant is more efficiently transmitted between people, likely due to its faster replication, higher viral load, and greater affinity for lower respiratory tract cells compared with earlier COVID-19 strains. And while emerging data affirms that fully vaccinated people are well protected from severe infections with Delta variants, it now is clear that fully vaccinated people can become infected, and if infected with Delta, can infect others.

“To all those who have lost friends, loved ones, and family, our thoughts and hearts are with you, and we wish you comfort and peace during this difficult time,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “We thank all the establishments and businesses that are implementing safety recommendations, including requiring attendees to be vaccinated and layering masking and distancing as appropriate. These efforts make it easier for us to enjoy the activities we love. As we gain new understandings every day about how the Delta variant spreads, much of what we’re learning affirms that it spreads more easily, and this is why we need to move swiftly to improve vaccination rates. The evidence continues to show that vaccines provide excellent protection against severe outcomes from Delta infection, and that the same sensible precautions that protected us from earlier strains of COVID-19 are still very effective against this latest strain. We are fortunate to have the tools at hand that we need to get back to slowing the spread of Delta; we will just need to accept that as the virus changes, we need to be flexible with our responses to reflect the changing science. Even if you are fully vaccinated, use caution in crowded and indoor settings, especially around unvaccinated people outside your household, and remember that distancing and masking add layers of protection. If there are people in your household that cannot be vaccinated, you may want to take extra precautions when you are among people outside your household and assess how much risk there may be at events or activities you are planning to attend.”

As of August 8, more than 11,326,288 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to people across Los Angeles County. Of these, 6,292,215 were first doses and 5,034,073 were second doses. Eighty-nine percent of L.A. County seniors 65 and over, 73% of residents 16 and over, 72% of residents 12 and over have received one dose of vaccine. Sixty-three percent of residents 12 and over have been fully vaccinated. Of L.A. County teens between the ages of 12 and 17, 56% have received at least one dose and 44% are fully vaccinated

Of the nearly 10.3 million L.A. County residents, including those who are not yet eligible for the vaccine, 54% are fully vaccinated and 62% have received at least one dose.

Among the 5.1 million fully vaccinated people in L.A. County, Public Health identified 21,532 people fully vaccinated who tested positive for COVID-19 as of August 10; this is less than 1% of all those vaccinated. Of those who tested positive, 549 were hospitalized, up from 446 the week prior. This translates to 0.01% of all fully vaccinated people ending up hospitalized. Deaths in this group over this interval also increased, from 41 to 55, to 0.0011%. These small increases provide proof that fully vaccinated people do become infected and that with the very high rates of community transmission, more fully vaccinated people are getting post vaccination infections. However, this data should also provide significant reassurance that fully vaccinated people remain at relatively low risk for becoming infected and even lower risk for having a bad outcome if they are infected.

L.A. County continues to offer vaccines at many different sites across the county to make it as easy as possible for eligible L.A. County residents to get vaccinated. Vaccinations are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status.

Anyone 12 and older living or working in L.A. County can get vaccinated against COVID-19. To find a vaccination site near you, 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, connecting to free transportation to and from a vaccination site, or scheduling a home-visit if you are homebound.

These numbers are subject to change based on further investigation. 59 cases and 2 deaths previously reported were not in Public Health’s jurisdiction.

* Means that case numbers include cases associated with correctional facility outbreaks located in the city/community.

**Rate is crude and is per 100,000. This represents the number of cases per 100,000 people and allows for the proportional comparison of cities of different sizes.

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