Officials stress vaccinations as COVID cases decline

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Wave Wire Services

LOS ANGELES — With state and local incentives up for grabs, Los Angeles County health officials continue to urge residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to continue downward trends in infections and deaths.

Our metrics continue to improve, and we continue to see declines in cases, hospitalizations and deaths,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. “Vaccinations are saving lives and I ask each of you to continue keeping yourself, your friends and your family members safe by getting vaccinated if you haven’t done so already. We end this pandemic with vaccinations.”

Through June 3, at all the county-run vaccination sites, city sites and the St. John’s Well Child and Family Center sites, everyone 18 and older getting their first COVID-19 vaccine will have an opportunity to win a pair of tickets to the 2021-22 home season of either the Los Angeles Kings or Galaxy. Two residents will be awarded prizes. The contest is also open to anyone receiving a second dose who brings another person with them to be vaccinated.

The state, meanwhile, is offering financial motivation to encourage people to get vaccinated. On June 4, the state will hold the first of two planned drawings, awarding $50,000 in cash to 15 people who have been vaccinated. A second drawing will be held June 11 to pick another 15 winners.

On June 15, the date the state is scheduled to lift the majority of its COVID-19 restrictions, the state will draw the names of 10 vaccinated residents, each of whom will receive $1.5 million.

State and local officials are hoping to get as many residents vaccinated as they can before the June 15 date. Officials had earlier targeted an 80% vaccination rate to reach so-called “herd immunity” against the virus.

But Ferrer has backed off that figure in recent weeks, saying only that it is imperative to get as many people vaccinated as possible.

As of May 28, a total of 9,564,035 vaccine doses had been administered in the county, including more than 5.5 million first doses and more than 4 million second doses. Among county residents age 16 and older, 63% have received at least one dose, and 51% are fully vaccinated. Among those 65 and older, 85% have received at least one dose, and 72% are fully vaccinated.

The county reported another three COVID-19 deaths June 1, lifting the overall death toll to 24,346.

Another 108 infections were announced by the county, pushing the cumulative total from throughout the pandemic to 1,244,161.

The numbers of new cases and deaths tend to be lower at the beginning of the week, due to reporting lags from the weekend.

According to state figures, there were 254 people hospitalized in the county due to COVID, with 47 people in intensive care.

State health officials released weekly case updates June 1, and the county’s average daily rate of new COVID-19 infections fell to 0.7 per 100,000 residents, down from 0.9 last week. The county’s testing-positivity rate was 0.4%, down from 0.5% last week.