The LA County Department of Public Health is pleased to report 335 of 340 (nearly 99%) of all skilled nursing facilities in the County received and administered their first doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Nearly 39,000 doses have been administered to staff and residents. The remaining facilities are currently vaccinating or are scheduling vaccinations this week.

Additionally, for facilities that completed their first doses, Public Health is supporting distribution and administration of their second doses of vaccine.

All skilled nursing facilities in the County conduct weekly testing of residents and staff. For the week of Jan. 2, more than 70,000 COVID-19 tests were completed among staff and residents. A total of 2,532 people tested positive for COVID-19; 1,423 new cases among residents and 1,109 new cases among staff; this is a positivity rate of just under 4 percent and significantly lower than the 15 percent positivity rate among the general public.

Public Health remains in regular contact with skilled nursing facilities and provides facilities with technical assistance, guidance, emergency supplies of personal protective equipment, and COVID-19 vaccine and testing support. The proportion of deaths occurring among residents at skilled nursing facilities has dropped from 50 percent last summer to under 7 percent this winter.

“We wish healing and peace to those grieving a loved one who passed away from COVID-19,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “As we honor the legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we are reminded that, together, we can make change for the better. We are closer and closer to ending this pandemic, and collective action is what makes the difference in how many more people die.

“It will take a few more months before there is enough vaccine supply available and enough people vaccinated to provide us with the level of protection needed to end the pandemic. Given the emergence of variants that may be more easily transmissible, now would be the time to figure out how you should modify your current activities to reduce exposure to others since many people who are out and about are infected with COVID-19. Please continue to stay home as much as possible, wear a face covering and stay at least six feet away from people you do not live with at all times.”

If you have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19, isolate immediately from your family and others. Individuals with underlying health conditions and those that are older should remain in their home and ask others living with you to wear a face covering when they are nearby. If you are having severe symptoms including difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, inability to wake or stay awake and/or bluish lips or face, go to an emergency room or call 911.