LOS ANGELES, Calif. Nov 29 – Today, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) reports that cases among staff and residents living in skilled nursing facilities have decreased significantly between October 22 and November 14. This coincides with 98% of skilled nursing facilities in L.A. County administering booster doses to eligible residents and staff over this same period.
During the week of October 22, 92 new cases were reported among staff and residents at skilled nursing facilities. For the week ending November 14, 34 people tested positive for COVID-19 at skilled nursing facilities: 13 new cases were among skilled nursing facility residents, and 21 new cases were among skilled nursing facility staff. This is a 63% drop in new cases during a time when cases across the county declined by only 6%.
Boosters for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, the brands administered to the majority of skilled nursing facility residents, became available on October 22, 2021. Out of the 341 skilled nursing facilities in L.A. County, 336 completed their rollout of booster vaccines. Public Health is working with the remaining skilled nursing facilities to offer County mobile vaccine team assistance to ensure all eligible residents are offered their booster dose this upcoming week.
In addition to the quick administration of boosters to residents, all skilled nursing facilities staff are required to be fully vaccinated as of September 30, 2021 according to the state health officer order; all eligible staff were offered boosters as well.
Skilled nursing facilities report that 96% of staff and 90% of residents are fully vaccinated.
Today, Public Health confirmed 10 new deaths and 794 new cases of COVID-19. The number of cases and deaths reflect reporting delays over the weekend. Of the 10 new deaths reported today, four people who passed away were over the age of 80, one person who died was between the ages of 65 and 79, three people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64, and two people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49. To date, Public Health has identified 1,526,272 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 27,138 deaths.
There are 568 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized. Testing results are available for more than 9,413,000 individuals, with 15% of people testing positive.
Today’s test positivity rate is 2.45%, an increase from last week’s same-day rate of 1.0%. The increased test positivity rate likely reflects a significantly reduced volume of testing associated with schools being closed.
As the County prepares to deal with the possible threat of Omicron, a new variant of concern, the most important strategy remains making sure that everyone 5 years and older gets fully vaccinated or receives their booster dose as quickly as possible to reduce transmission of COVID-19. Given that there continues to be substantial transmission of COVID-19 and the uncertainty about the level of vaccine efficacy against this new variant of concern, all residents and workers need to be sure to adhere to vaccination verification and masking requirements and wear a mask when indoors or at large outdoor mega events regardless of vaccination status.
“To everyone who has lost a friend or loved one to COVID-19, we send you our deepest condolences,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “Over the course of our month long drive to roll out boosters in skilled nursing facilities, cases and hospitalizations dropped among the residents of these facilities far more dramatically than they did among the population at large. Clearly boosters, along with very high vaccination coverage with two doses among staff and residents, make a difference by enhancing protection. We encourage all adults 18 and over eligible for booster doses to go ahead and get that booster dose as an important way to protect from getting infected and spreading the virus; since transmission remains substantial across the county, this additional boost makes a difference.”
COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and are recommended for everyone 5 years old and older to help protect against COVID-19. Vaccinations are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status. Appointments are not needed at all Public Health vaccination sites and many community sites where first, second, and third doses are available.