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LA County Records 20,000 Covid-19 Related Deaths; Local Officials “Disgusted” With Vaccination System Bugs, Line-Cutters

Tom Tapp
·4 min read

Los Angeles health officials confirmed that the county had recorded 20,057 Covid-related deaths on Tuesday. There were 157 new deaths and 2,091 new cases related to Covid-19 confirmed. In total, officials have identified 1,183,378 positive cases of Covid-19 in L.A.

“As we mark this heartbreaking day and note with sadness the loss of over 20,000 county residents, we mourn with all of you who have lost someone you love to COVID-19. We are deeply sorry for your loss, and wish you healing and peace,” said Barbara Ferrer LA County Director of Public Health.

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The region marked the dark milestone just one day after the country recorded 500,000 deaths related to the virus.

While new COVID cases and test positivity rates are declining in Los Angeles, the county remains in the most restrictive purple tier in the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. In order to move into the red tier and have additional opportunities for re-openings, L.A. County’s daily case rate must be at or below 7 new cases per 100,00 people and the County’s test positivity rate must be at or below 8%. Today the State released updated numbers; L.A. County’s adjusted case rate is 12.3 new cases per 100,000 people and the test positivity rate is 5.1%. That means the county could progress into red next week.

Meanwhile a “disgusted” Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis lashed out on Tuesday at people who have been gaming the COVID-19 vaccination appointment system to “jump the line” and get shots at clinics established specifically for under-served minority and low-income residents who have struggled to get vaccinations.

“I am not surprised. I’m disgusted,” Solis said during a Board of Supervisors discussion of the Covid vaccination effort. “And I’m not disgusted at the work that we’re doing, but I’m more disgusted about the behavior of people in the public that are not being responsible.”

Solis and other supervisors expressed outrage over people who have been managing to obtain access codes set up for vaccination clinics that were set up to target ethnic and low-income communities. The problem was highlighted over the weekend at the Ramona Gardens public housing complex in Boyle Heights, where Gov. Gavin Newsom was on hand for a clinic designed to serve residents of that community.

As the clinic began operating, with a host of elected officials on hand, it was clear that some people in line to get vaccinated had driven there from more affluent parts of the Southland.

“People don’t usually go in and visit from outside communities like Beverly hills or the Westside or other parts of the county,” Solis said. “But on this occasion I happened to see people that I know don’t live and reside there. This particular pod was set up for 250 individuals particularly addressing the needs of seniors 65 and older. The majority of the folks who live in that complex — there are well over 600 — the majority of them live in poverty. They happen to be Latinx, some Asian, some African-American. I can tell you off the bat I was very alarmed to hear individuals had gained access from the code, the code that is just given I think a day or even hours before the actual pod is set up, and somehow they were able to get in line ahead of the people this was intended for.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom said later Tuesday that he was aware of the abuses in the new Blue Shield-run appointment system. “A lot of people are working with the third party already,” he said. “There’s going to be some whitewater, a little head wind. We’re hoping to eliminate the bugs.”

“We’re going to go away from group codes to individual codes. And we’re working with the counties on that. We don’t like to see those abuses. We’ve been highlighting those abuses. They haven’t been highlighted for us,” said the governor.

“We were down at Ramona Gardens, we were highlighting that, with a number of legislators just a few days ago. It was pretty clear, at that public housing site, that not everyone was from that community. And we found out subsequently that a community-based organization had shared that code, and it was a group code and you started to see people coming from outside that community. So we’re working through those things. And we’re correcting for those.”

City News Service contributed to this report.

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