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City Officials Announce Four New Local Cases of COVID-19 Sunday, And No New Deaths

Vaccine expansion on the horizon

Published on Monday, March 29, 2021 | 5:00 am

City officials reported four new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and no new deaths, according to the city’s coronavirus dashboard.

The new numbers bring the city’s cases to 11,132 with 335 deaths.

Meanwhile, the city is gearing up for two more vaccine expansions.

On Thursday, anyone 50 and older will be eligible for the vaccine.

It was unclear when people in the newly eligible group will be able to start making appointments on the state’s MyTurn website — which is the main clearinghouse for appointments. L.A. County Chief Science Officer Dr. Paul Simon noted that there are also separate appointment websites for other providers, such as local pharmacies, and there was no specific timeline on when they would start accepting appointments for the new group.

Eligibility will expand again on April 15, when everyone 16 and up will be able to receive the vaccine. Simon warned that of the three currently available vaccines — Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for use in people under 18, so people ages 16 and 17 will have to ensure they make appointments at a Pfizer vaccination site.

Last week, the county expanded vaccine eligibility to more classes of workers, including gardeners and landscapers, nannies and private child-care workers, and housekeepers, as long as they all work at least 20 hours per week. Flight crews based in Los Angeles County were also added to the eligibility list.

At the end of last week, a total of 3,794,829 doses had been administered in Los Angeles County by the various providers. That total is more than 2.5 million first doses — including about 67,000 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine — and about 1.2 million second doses.

Simon said that even as vaccine eligibility is expanded to more groups of people, the county will continue to focus its efforts on lower-income neighborhoods that have been hard hit by the pandemic.

In fact, 65% of all doses the county receives this week will be directed to those neighborhoods.

The county is continuing to prepare for an anticipated sharp increase in vaccine supply, something that’s expected to occur by late April.

Simon reiterated that the county is working with its providers to expand infrastructure at existing vaccine sites and prepare for new ones, in hopes of building countywide capacity to 1 million doses per week.

The county currently has the capacity to administer about 600,000 doses per week.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said last week the state will have the capacity to administer 4 million doses per week by the end of April. But Blue Shield, which now oversees vaccine distribution in the state, announced Friday that the 4-million capacity statewide has already been reached.

But for now, the overall vaccine supply remains well short of that level.

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