LA County Coronavirus Update – January


Vincent Medina

Solina Sane of Autism Partnership took the Moderna vaccine at the Wesley Health Center in Belflower during her lunch break on Jan. 14. She will return for her second dose in about one month.

Vincent Medina and Josselyn Garay

Coronavirus cases continue to rise in Los Angeles County, with 976 thousand cases and 13,234 deaths as of Jan. 15.

LA County’s testing sites remain busy, as an average of 93,150 people are tested each week, according to the LA County Daily COVID-19 Data. Of those who take a test, an average of 18.20% will test positive each week.

The average positivity rate began to climb in Nov. 2020, as families traveled to see their loved ones for Thanksgiving. Cases sharply increased in December as people started to feel ill after traveling.

As more families traveled in December, the positivity rate increased.

Despite the many warnings from health and government officials, Americans choose to hold large gatherings during the holidays.

Just as predicted, the death rate in Los Angeles County sharply increased from November to January because of the gatherings.

It is estimated that one American dies every minute from the virus.

Alvaro Ballesteros, CEO of Wesly Health Centers, also cited that people of lower-income and poverty levels are most at risk for the virus.

“A person may live in a household of multiple family members, and it’s difficult to follow safety precautions. It comes down to a matter of social-economic status where people are living,” Ballesteros said.

According to the county’s data, the mortality rate increases depending on a person’s level of poverty.

Minorities are also most at risk for the virus. Data show that the mortality rate increases for Latinos and the Black community.

Now that the holidays are over and people are staying home, there are small signs of improvement. The positivity rate is decreasing, and hospitalizations are stabilizing.

The most significant sign of improvement is the arrival of the Coronavirus vaccine. Vaccinations have already started being given throughout LA County out to health care workers.

The Wesly Health Center in Bellflower has given the vaccine to frontline workers since the beginning of January. Their vaccination days are every Thursday and Friday.

“Today, we will vaccinate approximately 300 people. At this site, we have already vaccinated over 1,000 people,” said Ballesteros. “We estimate that we will get through vaccinating health care workers by the end of this month. After, the goal will be to vaccinate people of older age groups. The limiting factor is the number of doses we receive.”

Wesley Health Center uses the Moderna Coronavirus vaccine.

The Moderna vaccine is easier to store than Pfizer’s vaccine. Moderna must be kept at -4 Farenhight, then it is stable at refrigerator temperature for 30 days.

Each bottle of Moderna vaccine contains 10 doses.

“The vaccine uses mRNA to tell our cells what proteins to make to fight the virus,” said Dr. Robila Ashfaq of Wesly Health Center in Norwalk. “It does not give you Coronavirus.”

Throughout the pandemic, Dodger Stadium has served as one of the biggest COVID testing sites for Los Angeles County. Since the vaccine’s announcement, Dodger stadium will become a vaccine site for Angelenos.

According to the LA Times, officials estimate to vaccinate about 12,000 people a day.

Public health announced that the first supply of the vaccine will be limited for the first few months and only given to those working in health care.

They estimate to have enough vaccine for the general public in mid-May/June.