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With the high level of COVID-19 spread occurring across the county and nation, we are now experiencing increases in cases among staff and residents at skilled nursing facilities. This is in part due to the highly transmissible Delta variant and a small number of post-vaccination infections among those fully vaccinated. Currently, 86 percent of residents and 85 percent of staff at skilled nursing facilities are fully vaccinated.

For the week ending July 18, 33 people tested positive for COVID-19. Six new cases among residents, and 27 new cases among staff. For the previous weeks, an average of 22 new cases were reported among staff and residents at skilled nursing facilities.

Masks have consistently been required in all healthcare settings, including skilled nursing facilities, regardless of vaccination status. Routine testing of staff and residents is also required at skilled nursing facilities, and there are stringent infection control directives.

Public Health encourages anyone planning to visit someone in a facility to do so safely. As a reminder, you must wear a mask for all visitations, and visitation should occur outdoors whenever possible. If outdoor visitation is not possible, then the facility should make available a large indoor space with good ventilation that can allow for six feet of distancing. For indoor in-room visitation, visitors are asked to show proof of vaccination, or a negative COVID-19 test from no later than two days prior, or recovery from COVID-19 within the previous 90 days. Additional restrictions may apply, so visitors should consult with the facility in advance for further instructions.

This week, Public Health confirmed 2,293 new cases of COVID-19 throughout the county. Of the 20 new deaths reported Tuesday, five people who passed away were over the age of 80, six people who passed were between the ages of 65 and 79, six people who passed were between the ages of 50 and 64, and three people who passed were between the ages of 30 and 49. To date, Public Health identified 1,307,970 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 24,704 deaths.

Testing results are available for more than 7,358,000 individuals with 17 percent of people testing positive. The test positivity rate is 6.6 percent.

As of Tuesday, there were 1,138 people with COVID-19 hospitalized and 22 percent of these people were in the ICU. This is an increase of 313 daily hospitalizations since last Tuesday.

“To everyone grieving the loss of loved ones from COVID-19, our thoughts and prayers are with you,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of Public Health. “Residents at skilled nursing facilities are often medically fragile and throughout this pandemic have been at great risk for serious illness and death from COVID-19. Thankfully, because of their high COVID-19 vaccination rates and infection control measures at facilities, we are not seeing dramatic increases in COVID-19 cases among staff and residents at skilled nursing facilities, nor have we seen significant increases in deaths. In order to ensure a continued high level of protection during this surge, staff and residents not yet vaccinated should do so. And we ask everyone who plans to visit someone in a skilled nursing facility to mask up and be fully vaccinated to prevent transmission to very vulnerable residents.”

Vaccinations are always free.

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 are over 65, call (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.