Covid-19 deaths have dramatically decreased in the last few weeks, while over 8 million vaccine doses have been administered.
LOS ANGELES (CN) — After weathering a devastating Covid-19 surge at the beginning of the year, Los Angeles County reported zero virus-related deaths for the second day in a row Monday.
Monday’s figures come with a caveat, however, due to the lag in data reported to the county health department over the weekend. The numbers will rise again Tuesday, LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said during a briefing Monday.
Deaths due to complications from Covid-19 fell in recent weeks, marking a dramatic shift from a deadly winter. Over 6,400 died due to the virus in LA County this past January.
“We’re down to an average of 4 or 5 deaths a day,” Ferrer said. “That’s a huge, huge decrease. I know it brings a lot of hope and joy back into our families. That was probably one of the worst parts of the pandemic, losing so many people who are loved and cherished in their communities.”
The county saw another drop this week that did not inspire confidence in health officials: The number of vaccine doses administered fell at the end of April. From April 17-23, LA County administered nearly 611,600 doses, but the last week saw little over 467,000 doses go into residents’ arms. There’s no one answer to why there was such a steep drop, Ferrer said, but called the trend concerning.
Still, the county has made progress with its mass inoculation efforts with over 8 million doses administered. Roughly 37% of all LA County residents and over 65% of senior citizens are fully vaccinated, according to public health officials.
The progress from the last few weeks is about to pay off for the county of 10 million — it could enter the state’s yellow tier, the least restrictive under the state’s health order. Under the yellow tier, bars can reopen for the first time since the pandemic began at 25% indoor capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer, while restaurants, wineries and breweries could open at 50% indoor capacity.
Just four rural California counties are currently in the yellow tier. LA County will need to see fewer than 2 new daily cases per 100,000 residents, less than 2% positivity rate and less than 2.2% positive tests for the low income and communities of color.
“I think we’re on track to move into the yellow tier,” said Ferrer. “I feel pretty confident we’ll be moving into the yellow tier this week.”
Ferrer added the state uses an adjustment factor to determine if LA County can jump into the yellow tier. That data will become available Tuesday afternoon. If the county meets all health requirements, it will formally announce the results Wednesday with updated health rules that would take effect Thursday.