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Moderna expects its vaccine will protect against coronavirus for at least a year

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A nurse attends to a patient in a Covid-19 ICU at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital on January 6 in the Willowbrook neighborhood of Los Angeles.  Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

Los Angeles public health officials are advising that all essential workers countywide should wear masks inside of their own homes to prevent spreading the coronavirus within the household, as hospitalizations and deaths continue at alarming rates.

Officials are calling it the “worst disaster” experienced in the county in decades.

“Right now, because there is so much spread, we’re recommending that people wear their face coverings on while they’re inside the home. It will add a layer of protection while we get through this surge,” Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said at a news conference Monday. 
“We strongly recommend you keep your face covering on if you’re a worker who is leaving every day or in fact you’re somebody who has to run the essential errands in your family,” Ferrer added.

Surge in cases: Los Angeles reported 12,617 new cases Monday, bringing the total number of infections in the county to 932,697. An additional 137 deaths were reported, raising the total number of fatalities to 12,387. 

Deaths increasing by 1,000%: In the past seven days, the county has reported more than 1,500 Covid-related deaths, according to latest health data. Since the surge began in November, LA County has seen deaths increase by more than a staggering 1,000%. 

Hospital resources strained: Nearly 8,000 people are currently hospitalized as officials continue to troubleshoot infrastructure issues like low oxygen supply, limited staffing resources, and scarce bed availability. There are 650 hospital beds and 46 ICU beds available in the entire county as of Monday afternoon, officials said.

Ten people test positive every minute: Ferrer said that, every minute, 10 people in LA County on average are testing positive for Covid-19. “The damaging impact to our families and our local hospitals from this surge is the worst disaster our county has experienced for decades,” she said.

Vaccines: Despite the tragic loss of life, vaccines are making their way throughout the community, Ferrer said. Hospitals in Los Angeles received 220,000 vaccine doses and about 160,000 frontline healthcare workers have been vaccinated. Hospitals began providing their eligible staff second doses last week and more than 22,000 health care workers are now fully vaccinated.

Vaccine sites: There are more than 75 vaccination sites in Los Angeles that have been established to help facilitate the vaccine to individuals within the state’s current phase 1A tier, where primarily non-hospital care workers and non-skilled nursing facility health care workers are being immunized. Some 20 vaccination sites are currently open to frontline health care workers and at least five more are expected to open in the near future.

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