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1st Coronavirus Vaccine Approved: When Will It Arrive And How Will We Get It?

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Wesley Wheeler, President of Global Healthcare at UPS, holds up a sample of the vial that will be used to transport the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as he testifies before Congress about the logistics of vaccine distribution. (Samuel Corum/Pool/Getty Images)

Los Angeles County is expecting to receive its first shipment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in the next few days, after an FDA advisory panel gave the drug a green-light Thursday. The very first vaccines could begin as soon as next week.

The first shipment to L.A. County will include about 83,000 doses, followed up by nearly half a million more that should arrive by the last week of December. At the statewide level, California hospitals could receive 327,000 doses of the first COVID-19 vaccine between Saturday and Tuesday.

WHO IS FIRST IN LINE?

Frontline health care workers, along with residents and staff at long-term care facilities, will be first in line to get them.

Here's Dr. Claire Jarashow, director of L.A. County's Vaccine and Preventable Disease Control Program:

"This is going to be the hardest logistical challenge, I think, that we've faced, and in the middle of a surge. So it's all hands on deck."

More widespread vaccinations for members of the general public aren't expected until the spring.

Dr. Dean Blumberg from UC Davis Children's Hospital says the families of frontline health care workers will not get priority:

"They've expressed that concern because we have some very good studies that show that households of health care workers are at increased risk of infection because the health care workers are out there in the workforce, so they aren't sheltering in place."

PLANS IN LONG BEACH

In Long Beach, as in L.A., officials said the general public could start getting doses by late spring, after health care workers, vulnerable populations, and essential workers.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said that once that first phase is complete, the city will convert its current COVID-19 test sites to double as drive-in vaccination sites:

"We understand that a lot of folks want to get vaccinated today. And we would love to have enough vaccines to vaccinate everyone in the next couple of months. But the truth is, is that we have to vaccinate as we go, and as we get vaccinations coming in."

Long Beach expects to receive 3,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of the month.

'VERY AGGRESSIVE' STATEWIDE MONITORING

Gov. Gavin Newsom has said the state will "be very aggressive" in monitoring vaccine distribution to ensure that those with money and connections are not somehow jumping to the front of the line.

Next up? Newsom said California will receive 672,000 doses of a different vaccine, this one by Moderna, in the next few weeks.

MORE ON COVID-19

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Another Record High Day For Coronavirus Cases In LA County

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Testing site workers seal a bag of completed COVID-19 tests at a pop-up community testing site in Panorama City. (Patrick T. Fallon / AFP)

Los Angeles County has, once again, shattered its own daily COVID-19 records.

Officials reported another 12,819 new cases Thursday — topping a record set just four days ago.

Mayor Garcetti said today in a news briefing that one out of every 140 people in L.A. County is currently infected with COVID-19.

"These figures are astounding," Garcetti said. "Put more clearly, every hour someone is dying in the city of Los Angeles and every 20 minutes somewhere here in L.A. County someone is dying from Covid and its complications."

The county also recorded another 74 deaths. As of today, there are now more than 3,400 COVID-19 patients being treated in the county's hospitals — the highest number of hospitalizations yet since the start of the pandemic.

Nearly a quarter of those patients, 23%, are in intensive care units.

State health officials reported that, as of Thursday morning, the 11 counties in the Southern California region — which includes L.A. — have just 7.7% of their available ICU beds available.

Read the full release:

News of the continuing high number of new cases came as L.A. County reported the first death of a child from a rare illness linked to COVID-19.


OVERALL LOOK AT LA COUNTY NUMBERS:

Here's a look at longer-term trends in the county. To see more, visit our California COVID-19 Tracker and choose L.A. County or any other California county that interests you. These numbers are current as of Tuesday, Dec. 8:

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REPLAY: Latest Updates From Garcetti On LA's Response To Coronavirus

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is giving an update on the city's response to the coronavirus pandemic. Watch live above.

This story will be updated after the live stream concludes.

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Virtual Town Hall: Racism In The Military Justice System

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June 2017: Protect Our Defenders, a nonprofit advocacy group, releases a study on racial disparity in the military justice system. Among the findings:

“Military leadership has been aware of significant racial disparity in its justice process for years, and has made no apparent effort to find the cause of the disparity or remedy it.”

May 2019: The U.S. Government Accountability Office releases its own report, finding that Black members of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps "were about twice as likely as White servicemembers to be tried in general and special courts-martial."

June 2020: The top legal officers for all four military services told a Congressional hearing that it will take a lot of work to eradicate these racial disparities.

Tonight at 5: Join KPCC/LAist's Robert Garrova and a panel of experts for a town hall taking a closer look at where we are with this important issue and the plans to address it. Watch live at the top of this story.

GUESTS:

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LA County Relaxes Parking Tickets. LA City? Not So Much.

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A parking ticket on car windshield in West Los Angeles on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020. Elina Shatkin/LAist

Remember when the Stay-At-Home order went back into effect times three?

Well, in response to asking people to stay home amid the current surge in cornavirus cases, L.A. County is now suspending some parking tickets.

Violations for street sweeping and expired registration will NOT be enforced in unincorporated areas of the county. If you're like, unincorporated what?, that is a reasonable question for which we have an answer.

Anyway, the Sheriff's department didn't say how long the relaxed enforcement would last, but Tweeted that they won't be handing out fines, at least in the short term.

The city of L.A., however, began ticketing again for parking violations in October.

Mayor Garcetti did launch a program to give people a $20 discount on some parking tickets, if they pay within 48 hours. But, let us be the first to say, a $20 discount on a $73 street sweeping ticket still means you're paying $53.

Judging these responses, you're not thrilled about it either.

MORE ON LA PARKING RULES

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This Central LA Congressional District Had The Lowest Voluntary Participation In The 2020 Census Statewide

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Census tracts that are considered "hard-to-count" are represented in dark red. (Screen shot from California Census Office website)

For the first few months of the 2020 Census, people were supposed to respond to the decennial count on their own, over the Internet, phone or by mail.

In one L.A. congressional district in the heart of the Los Angeles, only about half of all households did that. By the end of the count, in the entire state this district ranked last in terms of voluntary participation in the count.

Census takers were sent out to follow up with those who didn't respond on their own. But experts say the damage is likely already done -- and they predict an undercount that could hurt federal funding for essential medical and other institutions serving the region's residents.

READ THE FULL STORY:

READ MORE ABOUT THE CENSUS:

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LA County Reports First Child Death From Rare Illness Linked To Covid-19

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Children's Hospital of Los Angeles on April 28, 2020. Chava Sanchez/Laist

Los Angeles County has reported the first death of a child from a rare illness linked to COVID-19.

The illness is multisystem inflammatory syndrome, also known as MIS-C.

In a statement to LAist/KPCC, Children's Hospital Los Angeles says the child had a complex, pre-existing cardiac condition. No other details were released.

Doctor Dean Blumberg is a Professor of Medicine and Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at UC Davis Children's Hospital. He says the disease is rare, but serious for some children:

It usually involves several systems, so the children often present with heart involvement and that's the most serious involvement, but also can cause gastrointestinal issues like rash, kidney problems, liver problems ... and these kids can be really, really sick.

Children's Hospital Los Angeles says it has treated 31 other patients with MIS-C who have recovered and been discharged.

State data shows at least 145 reported cases of the illness among children in California.

The CDC says nearly 1,300 cases have been reported nationally; about two dozen of those children have died.

OVERALL LOOK AT LA COUNTY NUMBERS:

Here's a look at longer-term trends in the county. To see more, visit our California COVID-19 Tracker and choose L.A. County or any other California county that interests you.

These numbers are current as of Wednesday, Dec. 9:

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily newsletters. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

A Fire, LA’s Veteran Homelessness Crisis, And A Plan To Rebuild 

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Manuel Bernal in front of the remains of the Nuevo Amanecer complex. (Robert Garrova / LAist )

In September, a fire destroyed the 70% complete Nuevo Amanecer apartment complex at the intersection of 1st Street and Rowan Avenue in East Los Angeles. It would have provided desperately-needed low-income housing, including 30 units for veterans.

“Four years worth of work just burned down in a matter of hours,” said Manuel Bernal, president of the East LA Community Corporation, a nonprofit affordable housing developer.

The Nuevo Amanecer project wouldn’t have solved L.A.’s veteran homelessness crisis, but every unit is precious here. L.A. County’s latest count tallied about 3,900 unhoused veterans.

That number is basically unchanged from last year, even though this population has seen bumps in federal, state and local financial support over the past 10 years. In an expensive real estate market, advocates say the money doesn’t go as far, and in a city this big it’s hard to reach veterans in need.

“There’s a tremendous need for service-enriched housing for unhoused veterans," Bernal said. “It totally changes lives.”

READ THE FULL STORY:

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Morning Brief: ICU Nurses Hit Breaking Point

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The Entrance to the emergency room at the Community Hospital of Huntington Park has signs posted throughout warning patients of new measures being put in place due to COVID-19. Chava Sanchez/Laist

Good morning, L.A.

As coronavirus cases in the county continue to surge, ICU nurses are reaching the end of their ropes, physically and emotionally.

Speaking with local hospital workers, my colleague Jackie Fortiér uncovered a culture of exhaustion and hopelessness, with some nurses deciding to quit the profession altogether and others hanging on by a thread.

"All the nurses [are] burning out," said Jun Jai, who works at L.A. County-USC Medical Center. "Every day you go, it's nonstop running from morning to the evening. You can see so many nurses have depression."

Jai is still going into the ICU for his 12-hour shifts, but Chanel Rosecrans, who worked as an overnight ICU nurse at a San Gabriel Valley hospital, hit her breaking point. She quit the hospital for a job at a plastic surgeon’s office in Beverly Hills after seeing one too many tragedies this year.

"Before work I would pray 'til I cried, begging God, please [don't] let me lose a patient tonight,” she said. “I can't take it."

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Jessica P. Ogilvie


What You Need To Know Today

Coronavirus Updates: L.A. County yesterday recorded another 75 COVID-19 deaths, the highest number in a single-day without a reporting backlog since July. And there were more than 9,000 new cases reported on Wednesday.

California Kids: We hear from several local community college students who have had to postpone their studies because of the pandemic. California and L.A. County both reversed course and will allow outdoor playgrounds to stay open in regions under stay-at-home orders.

Law Enforcement v. Protesters: On his first full day in office, District Attorney George Gascón ordered that a charge be dropped against a protester – but the deputy DA he instructed to drop the charge refused. A Long Beach police officer who fired a 40 millimeter foam projectile during a protest and struck our correspondent Adolfo Guzman-Lopez in the throat has been found to have acted within policy.

L.A. Stories: A new drive-in is opening in Los Angeles itself, rather than on the outskirts, and will be featuring indie movies. Storytellers Angela Sanchez, Matt Sedillo and Jin Yoo-Kim joined Unheard L.A. host Bruce Lemon, Jr. and Race in L.A.'s Dana Amihere to dig into the early life experiences that make us who we are.


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