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Claremont Courier - A Local Nonprofit Newsroom

Updated vaccination info from health department

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is now reporting 1,751 cumulative coronavirus cases in the city of Claremont, with 182 new infections reported in one week. This high number of new cases is an indication that the community spread in Claremont is still quite high and will likely remain so for the next several weeks. The city now has 31 deaths from the virus.

Countywide the health department recorded 11,994 new cases Tuesday and 288 deaths. The county now has 944,319 cumulative cases and 12,674 deaths.

“The county is experiencing horrific loss of life due to COVID-19. Over the last seven days, 1,606 people lost their lives and this is an average of nearly 230 deaths per day,” health officials said in a statement.

During a news conference on Monday, public health officials shared a rare piece of good news regarding beleaguered county hospitals. The number of people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 has leveled off and even dipped slightly from the peak about a week ago. However, there are still 750 to 800 new coronavirus patients admitted each day and the daily hospitalization rate remains at 8,000. Additionally, hospitals continue to face staffing shortages and limited oxygen supplies. 

Another bit of good news, the positivity rate, which measures the number of tests that come back positive for the virus, has declined from a peak last Monday of 20.6 percent to 17.5 percent on Sunday.

Public health announced that the city of Los Angeles will be using Dodger Stadium as a centralized COVID-19 vaccination center and the county would soon be opening five additional inoculation centers. While capacity may vary, each site will be open seven days a week with 4,000 to 5,000 doses administered per day at each site.

“Public Health, in collaboration with the County Fire Department, Internal Services Department and the Office of Emergency Management, is planning to open five large-capacity vaccination sites next week that will speed up vaccinations for frontline healthcare workers in Phase 1A. Public Health department staff are being reassigned in order to expand capabilities for this short-term effort. These five sites, in addition to our private partner sites, will allow us to complete 500,000 additional vaccinations among healthcare workers by the end of January,” L.A. County Public Health officials said in a statement.   

The county is still in the midst of Phase 1A which offers the vaccination to frontline healthcare workers as well as residents and employees of skilled nursing facilities. Phase 1B, tier 1, which is expected to begin in February, will make the vaccine available to certain essential workers and people over 75. Tier 2 in Phase 1B which will begin in mid-February, includes persons between the ages of 65 and 74 plus additional essential workers. Phase 1C which is scheduled to begin in March, will cover a much wider rage of workers and people over 50.

Due to the severity of the community spread in the county, masks are now recommended inside one’s own home if a resident of the house is considered high risk for serious COVID-19 illness. This is particularly important if any member of the household must leave on a regular basis for work or is otherwise in frequent contact with people outside the home.

An institutional outbreak at the Claremont Care Center, just outside the city’s border in Pomona, has reached a critical state with 34 staff members and 64 residents testing positive and six deaths. Meanwhile, the care facility that recorded Claremont’s first institutional cases, Country Villa Claremont, has reported a new outbreak involving eight staff and 14 residents testing positive.

Other local institutional outbreaks include Claremont Manor with 25 staff and five residents; Claremont Place with 15 staff, 14 residents and one death; Easter Seals Victoria Home, four staff, two residents and one death; Pilgrim Place assisted living, 15 staff and 13 residents; Pilgrim Place Health Services, 12 staff and three residents; and Sunrise of Claremont, eight staff and one resident.

Non-residential institutional outbreaks in Claremont are also on the rise with HiRel Connectors reporting 40 cases among employees across three locations, Synedgen with three cases and Comfort Keepers Home Care with three staff.

L.A. County Department of Health Services has discontinued using the Curative COVID-19 PCR test at county-supported testing sites after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an alert about the possibility of false negative results.

Curative provided 24,241 tests at county-supported ”pop-up” testing sites between December 13, 2020 and January 2, 2021, according to a news release from DHS. That amounts to approximately 10 percent of all coronavirus tests administered by the county.

“All COVID-19 tests have a risk of false negative results, which means that you may test negative when you actually have COVID-19,” DHS officials said. “There is no reliable way to detect early infection, meaning that infection often spreads before symptoms develop. Nevertheless, PCR tests, including the Curative test, remain better at detecting disease than other tests, including rapid tests.”

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