Masked pedestrians wait at a bus stop in Koreatown.
Masked pedestrians wait at a bus stop in Koreatown. Photo by Afonso Salcedo.

Refrigerated Trucks Arrive in L.A. to Ease Pressure on Hospital Morgues as COVID-19 Death Toll Rises

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New surveys show some first responders are hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The National Guard is headed to Los Angeles County to help store bodies at the county medical examiner-coroner’s office to relieve pressure on hospital morgues and private mortuaries that have run out of space. State officials have also sent refrigerated trucks across California as the rising COVID-19 death toll overwhelms funeral homes. — KTLA

State officials have instructed local health departments and providers to include community health care workers, public health field staff, primary care clinics, specialty clinics, laboratory workers, dental clinics and pharmacy staff as part of the prioritized group receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Should a surplus of vaccines remain, providers are to move on to the first tier in the next phase of distribution, which includes people who work in education, child care, emergency services and food and agriculture, as well as individuals over the age of 75. — Los Angeles Times

Law enforcement and firefighters are among those with priority access to the vaccine, but new surveys reveal many are reluctant to get vaccinated. According to Sheriff Alex Villanueva, 70% of his personnel want to get the vaccine. LAPD Chief Michel Moore says more than 60% of employees in the department want to get vaccinated. — ABC Los Angeles

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Someone Dies from COVID-19 Every 8 Minutes in L.A. County

FDA officials warn that coronavirus tests used at L.A.’s drive-through testing sites may show false negatives.

Health officials reported 19,718 new cases of COVID-19 today, as well as 218 new deaths. In total, there have been 11,545 coronavirus-related deaths in the county. There are 8,098 people currently hospitalized for the virus. — Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

A person in Los Angeles County dies from COVID-19 every 8 minutes, according to health officials.ABC Los Angeles

Los Angeles hospitals could face another emergency as the infrastructure and equipment used to deliver oxygen to COVID-19 patients begin to falter. Paramedics have been directed to conserve oxygen, and some hospitals are delaying the release of patients as they do not have enough oxygen equipment to send home with them.LAist

Not to be deterred by a global pandemic, underground dance clubs have continued to operate, facing little intervention from law enforcement, with some promoters openly bragging about their police connections and hiring off-duty cops to work as security guards. — Los Angeles Magazine

One EMT told ABC News he spent 17 hours at a San Dimas hospital parking lot caring for a semi-critical patient as he waited for a hospital bed to open up. While that may have been an extreme case, more and more first responders are having to treat patients outside hospitals and wait with them until they are admitted. — ABC Los Angeles

According to the Food and Drug Administration, the coronavirus test used throughout Los Angeles and other parts of the state may provide inaccurate results. The tests, made by Silicon Valley startup Curative, carry a “risk of false results, particularly false negative results.” — Los Angeles Times

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

L.A. County COVID-19 Deaths Top 11,000

Grocery chains in unincorporated areas of L.A. County could be required to pay workers an additional $5 per hour under a proposal by the County Board of Supervisors.

Crowds of people wanting to receive early access to the COVID-19 vaccine have led to longer lines at vaccination sites even as the first doses are reserved for health care workers. Mismanagement at some locations has resulted in people who are not health care workers receiving the Moderna shot weeks before they were eligible. As of Tuesday, officials require a photo ID and documentation of a job in the health care industry in order to receive a dose of the vaccine. — Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles-area grocery workers could receive an extra $5 per hour in “hero pay” under a plan proposed by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. The boost in pay would apply to frontline workers in unincorporated areas of the county. The Long Beach and Los Angeles city councils are considering similar proposals. — Eater Los Angeles

A bar owner in Costa Mesa has become the first proprietor to face criminal charges in Orange County for repeatedly refusing to follow mandates requiring that customers and employees wear face coverings and maintain social distancing, as well as continuing to operate during restricted hours, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office. — Los Angeles Times

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Angelenos Risk COVID-19 Exposure ‘Everywhere’ Outside the Home

As the coronavirus spreads rapidly throughout L.A. County, health officials recommend residents stay home whenever possible.

County health officials confirmed 13,512 new cases of COVID-19 as well as 224 deaths. Currently, there are 7,898 people hospitalized for the virus, with 21% of them in an intensive care unit. — Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

According to county health officials, leaving home to go anywhere is a high-risk activity as COVID-19 deaths continue to rise. Furthermore, officials expect the rate of infection to increase in the coming weeks following New Year’s gatherings and holiday travel. “Assume that this deadly invisible virus is everywhere, looking for a willing host,” said Barbara Ferrer, county public health director, in a Monday briefing. — KTLA

In a bid to encourage international travel, a trade group representing U.S. airlines is asking the federal government to replace broad restrictions on inbound travel with a COVID-19 testing requirement for visitors entering the country from abroad. — Los Angeles Times

This year’s Grammy Awards ceremony, which was scheduled to take place at the Staples Center on Jan. 31, has been postponed to March 14, as COVID-19 wreaks havoc on the region’s medical system. “Nothing is more important than the health and safety of those in our music community and the hundreds of people who work tirelessly on producing the show,” said Ben Winston, the event’s executive producer. — NPR

Following a freezer malfunction, staff at a Northern California medical center rushed to administer hundreds of doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, with a majority of the shots going to anyone who showed up to any of the four impromptu distribution sites. — Los Angeles Times

Monday, January 4, 2021

Ambulance Crews Told to Only Transport Patients with Best Possible Outcomes

SAG-AFTRA asks members to delay SoCal productions amid the current COVID-19 surge.

The post-holiday COVID-19 surge has begun, according to Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. The county reported 9,142 new cases today as well as 77 deaths. There are 7,697 people hospitalized for the virus currently. — Deadline

Ambulance crews have been advised to focus their resources and efforts on patients with a greater chance of survival. The move comes as health officials expect circumstances to worsen when patients who caught COVID-19 over the holidays need treatment. — Los Angeles Times

Hollywood culinary landmark Pink’s Hot Dogs will remain closed at least through February to protect staff from exposure to the coronavirus, according to the owners. — Eater Los Angeles

Groups representing actors, independent producers and advertisers have called for a hold on in-person productions in Southern California. “Patients are dying in ambulances waiting for treatment because hospital emergency rooms are overwhelmed,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris. “This is not a safe environment for in-person production right now.” — NBC Los Angeles

Maskless protesters stormed through a Ralphs grocery store and the Westfield Century City mall Sunday demanding an end to COVID-19 health mandates while arguing with employees and customers. — Los Angeles Times

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