COVID-19 metrics are falling, but vaccine in short supply

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com

Los Angeles County residents continue to receive good news about the local outbreak of the coronavirus as new cases, deaths and hospitalizations fall.

As of February 9, the seven-day average of daily cases in Los Angeles County was 2,230, a decline of 85 percent from its peak in early January when it hovered around 15,000. The seven-day average number of daily deaths is also falling sharply. After peaking at 229 on January 10, the average on February 9 was down significantly to 91 deaths per day. However, that is still too high a number of people succumbing to this virus every day.

The three-day average daily hospitalizations peaked on January 8 at 8,000 but as of February 14, was down to 3,100—a 61 percent decline. There are 2,855 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 31 percent in the ICU.

“These decreases are meaningful, and they are good news, but the numbers remain much higher than the numbers we saw in the autumn,” public health officials said in a statement.

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported 162 deaths and 2,394 new infections. Since the beginning of the pandemic public health has reported 1,171,664 cumulative cases of COVID-19 and 19,368 deaths. The Washington Post reported on Thursday that average life expectancy in the United States decreased by one year in the first half of 2020 due to COVID-19 deaths.

The county is now reporting 2,202 cumulative cases in Claremont, 42 new infections in the last week. One additional Claremont resident has died, bringing the total to 50. The recent institutional outbreak at Country Villa Claremont Healthcare Center now has infected 26 staff members, 15 residents and, unfortunately, five people have died.

On Wednesday the county confirmed four new cases of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7., first identified in the United Kingdom, for a total of 12 cases in Los Angeles County. Because this variant and others are more infectious, health officials advise residents to take extra caution, remain at home when possible, practice social distancing, and are now advising wearing two masks.

Even though the supply of the coronavirus vaccine remains in critically short supply, public health announced this week that 1,541,000 doses have been administered across the county, including 399,642 people who have received their second dose. This means that 5.1 percent of the population 16 and older have been fully vaccinated, while 39 percent of residents 65 and over have received one dose.

There are 391 vaccination sites in L.A. County including large capacity facilities such as the Pomona Fairplex and Dodger Stadium. The county has the room for 500,000 appointment slots this week, but with only 211,000 doses to distribute, so less than half of the potential capacity.

“As Public Health prepares to open up eligibility for the vaccine to three additional sectors starting on March 1—education and childcare, food and agriculture, and first responders and law enforcement—the county is working with partners to address challenges in vaccinating the more than 1.8 million workers that will be eligible for vaccine,” health officials said.

 


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