No deaths have been recorded among the Health care workers at the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic in Los Angeles County in the past three weeks, public health officials said Tuesday.
COVID-19 cases among medical workers in L.A. County have dropped sharply since they began getting vaccinated in December. There were nearly 2,000 new cases among health care staff in the last week of December, but as of last week only 43 new cases were recorded in the demographic, the county Department of Public Health said in a news release.
According to officials, for the eighth week in a row there have been no more than 50 new infections reported among medical professionals.
As of Tuesday, the virus had claimed the lives of 262 health care workers countywide. In the first week of this year alone, during the height of the winter surge, two dozen died.
“Getting vaccinated is the way we end this pandemic,” public health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement.
Nursing home staff case rates are also dropping along with those being the first to be vaccinated in L.A. County. More than 1,100 nursing home staffers tested positive for the coronavirus in the first week of this year, but that figure had dropped to 11 new cases as of late April, officials said.
On Tuesday, 224 new infections and 18 additional deaths were reported countywide. Meanwhile, 374 people are still in L.A. County hospitals with the disease, but overall hospitalizations are at their lowest number since the pandemic began.
“While we are relieved that our metrics remain stable, we continue to mourn the loss of life and send our deepest sympathies to everyone who is missing a loved one who passed away from COVID-19,” Ferrer said.
Public health officials also said Tuesday that new state data shows L.A. County will be able to keep its place in the yellow tier, the least-restrictive under California’s reopening guidelines.
The county’s adjusted case rate dropped from 1.6 new cases per 100,000 people to 1.4 new cases per 100,000. Officials say they were also able to close the gap in the testing positivity rate between higher- and lower-income areas, with both now at 0.7%.
When California will adopt new health guidelines after the federal government said fully vaccinated people can stop wearing face coverings and social distancing in most situations outside or inside, is unclear.
Counties across California are waiting on potential new guidance procedures following Thursday’s announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings, such as buses, planes, hospitals and prisons, and says residents should follow local rules. California’s Department of Public Health did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The state is on track to fully reopen its economy next month, signaling an end to most pandemic restrictions as infection rates stay at record lows and more people get vaccinated, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom. The state also began allowing children 12 to 15 to receive the vaccine.