Amid a slow rise in the number of infections and the continued spread of the BA.2 subvariant of COVID-19, Los Angeles County health officials said Tuesday they were accelerating efforts to provide additional booster doses of vaccine to residents of skilled nursing facilities.
According to the county’s public health department, 91% of nursing facility residents are fully immunized, while 85% are immunized and received a booster dose. Of nursing facility staff, 98% are fully vaccinated and 85% are vaccinated with a booster dose.
Health officials said they are conducting outreach at all skilled nursing facilities in the county to determine who is eligible for a second dose. The county is also planning mobile vaccination clinics at facilities, with nearly two dozen such efforts planned over the next two weeks.
“With the increased circulation of the highly infectious BA.2 subvariant, protecting the health of loved ones in skilled nursing facilities will require that residents, staff and visitors continue to take reasonable safety precautions,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “Residents and staff should be fully reinforced, and anyone who is eligible should get the second booster as soon as possible.
“We also encourage families and friends who visit nursing homes or other congregate care facilities to do the same and be up to date on their vaccinations, in addition to getting tested before visiting and following up on all security measures on site,” she said. “Our most vulnerable residents, including those who are older, immunocompromised, living with serious health conditions or unvaccinated, still need the extra protections offered by the tools and strategies that we know will reduce risk. .”
Second booster doses are available to anyone aged 50 and over, provided it has been at least four months since the first booster shot. Additional reminders are also available for some younger residents with underlying health conditions.
The push for more recalls comes as the highly infectious BA.2 subvariant of the virus continues to spread, which is now believed to be responsible for the majority of new cases in the county. As a result, the county reported Monday that the average daily number of new cases over the past seven days increased 23% from the previous week.
On Tuesday, the county reported 795 new COVID infections, bringing the overall pandemic total to 2,847,097. Another 13 virus-related deaths were also reported, bringing the county’s death toll to 31,819.
While the number of cases has gradually increased after months of decline, deaths have remained low, as have hospitalizations of people with the virus.
According to state figures, there were 270 COVID-positive patients in county hospitals on Tuesday, up from 265 on Monday. Of these patients, 36 were being treated in intensive care, compared to 38 on Monday.
The rolling average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was also low, at 1% on Tuesday.