LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Los Angeles County reported 408 new cases of COVID-19 and five additional deaths Sunday, though health officials said the relatively low numbers may reflect delays in weekend reporting.
The number of coronavirus patients in county hospitals dropped from 444 Saturday to 407, according to state figures, while the number of those patients in intensive care rose from 101 to 103.
Sunday's numbers brought the county's totals to 1,231,532 cases and 23,773 fatalities since the pandemic began, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
"This virus has caused havoc and pain in our county for too long. However, we now have a way forward to end the pandemic," Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said on Saturday. "It is more important than ever for everyone who is eligible to be vaccinated to look over the information about vaccine safety and make an appointment as soon as you can. When you do, you'll be protecting yourselves and just as importantly, you'll be keeping yourselves healthy so you can continue to support those you love."
The department reminded the public this weekend that anyone 16 and older living or working in Los Angeles County can get vaccinated without booking an appointment at all county-run vaccination sites while supply lasts (teens 16 and 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian). Registration for COVID-19 appointments will be completed on-site.
That's a stark change from the early days of the vaccination effort, when appointments were in short supply.
Also, county officials said they will resume administration of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines, with required warning materials about rare instances of blood clots.
The county's chief science officer, Dr. Paul Simon, told reporters in an online briefing Friday that the county has about 13,000 doses of the J&J vaccine on hand, while another 25,000 doses may be in the possession of other providers such as pharmacies and health centers that receive allocations of vaccine directly from the state or federal governments.
An advisory committee for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Friday that the J&J vaccine re-enter circulation, with a warning about potentially dangerous blood-clotting that occurred in 15 people — out of about 7 million doses administered nationwide — and prompted a hold on the vaccine earlier this month.
Within hours, the committee's recommendation was adopted by the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration, clearing the way for administration of the vaccine to resume.
"We're in the process of developing, or at least finalizing now, the educational materials that will be used for clients and also for providers so that we can move forward," Simon said.
Simon continued to promote the safety of the vaccines, noting the low rate of the blood-clotting cases that forced a hold on the vaccine 10 days ago. He called it an "excellent vaccine."
Through Monday, walk-up vaccinations will be available at:
- Palmdale Oasis Recreation Center, 3850 E. Avenue S
- The Forum, 3900 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood
- Balboa Sports Complex, 17015 Burbank Blvd., Encino
- College of the Canyons, 25000 Valencia Blvd., Santa Clarita
- Cal State Northridge, 18343 Plummer St.
- Eugene Obregon Park, 4021 E. First St., Los Angeles
- Pomona Fairplex, 2370 E. Arrow Highway, gate 15
- LA County Office of Education, 12830 Columbia Way, Downey
Meanwhile, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Sunday that city vaccination sites are prepared to administer close to 150,000 first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines this week. The program will add another fixed location to offer vaccinations in Century City, as well.
"To end this pandemic, we need to use every dose we have — and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a critical piece of that strategy," Garcetti said.
The city is expected to receive nearly 42,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine this week and over 63,000 doses of Pfizer, along with about 29,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson already in its supply.
Officials also announced that the city will further expand access to vaccines at a new fixed vaccination site at Century City.
City vaccination sites will be open Tuesday through Saturday, with the exception of Dodger Stadium, which will be closed on Wednesday to accommodate a scheduled Dodger game. Angelenos can make first-dose appointments online at Coronavirus.LACity.org/VaxAppointment.