Visitors at the Americana at Brand sit inside social-distancing circles on Dec. 23, 2020. Photo by Jose Tobar.

Workers Say Santa Monica Hotel Violates COVID-19 Safety Rules

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Friday, February 26, 2022

The Food and Drug Administration could soon approve the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use following a unanimous vote by a panel of experts.

Los Angeles County officials reported 1,838 new cases of COVID-19 and 144 new deaths Friday, bringing the county’s tally to 1,189,232 confirmed cases and 21,241 deaths. There are 1,886 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in L.A. County, with 30% of them receiving intensive care. Nearly 1,960,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been distributed in L.A. County. — Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

Street sweeping operations in the city of Los Angeles are switching to a biweekly schedule starting Monday due to staff shortages and financial pressures brought on by the pandemic. Angelenos can sign up to receive a street sweeping reminder 48 and 24 hours in advance on the StreetsLA website. — KTLA

A panel of expert advisers to the Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously to recommend that the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine be authorized for emergency use. In an international study of about 40,000 people, the vaccine, which only requires one dose, was found to be 66% effective at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 disease and 85% effective at preventing critical disease. A final decision could be quick to follow, as the FDA approved the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines only one day after the same panel recommended their use.NPR

Housekeeping staff at the JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot filed a complaint Thursday with the state agency responsible for enforcing workplace safety, alleging that the hotel is violating COVID-19 regulations by not properly disinfecting employee-only areas or providing adequate training or procedures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus. Several employees also voiced concerns regarding overcrowded changing rooms. — Los Angeles Times

Thursday, February 25, 2022

LAUSD to Receive 40% of Vaccine Doses Reserved for L.A. County School Staff

COVID-19 vaccination websites are failing to meet disability laws standards across the U.S.

Los Angeles County health officials confirmed 2,072 new cases of COVID-19 and 132 related deaths Thursday. There are 1,988 currently hospitalized for the virus in the county. — Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

Visually impaired people are experiencing difficulties accessing information on COVID-19 and signing up for a vaccine, as websites managed at the federal, state and local levels violate disability rights laws, according to an investigation by Kaiser Health News. Blind residents in at least seven states report being unable to sign up for a vaccine without help. Advocates say unless changes are made, lawsuits are sure to follow. — Los Angeles Times

Compton residents 65 and older can get a COVID-19 vaccine at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments are not required. — NBC Los Angeles

Los Angeles County will distribute 40% of vaccines reserved for school staff to the L.A. Unified School District under a plan designed to help reopen schools in the areas hardest hit by the pandemic. According to the county education office superintendent, the plan accounts for poverty levels and the prevalence of COVID-19 in the communities LAUSD serves. — Los Angeles Times

COVID-19 vaccines are now available at select Walgreens and Rite Aid locations. Appointments are required. Only residents who are 65 or older, first responders or health care workers are eligible to receive a vaccine. — CBS Los Angeles

Wednesday, February 24, 2022

County Board of Supervisors Approves $5 ‘Hero Pay’ Mandate for Grocery and Pharmacy Workers in Unincorporated Los Angeles

Public health officials identified an additional 806 COVID-19 deaths that were not included in previous counts.

Los Angeles County health officials reported 2,157 new cases of COVID-19 and 136 new deaths Wednesday. Following “extensive checks” of death records, the Public Health Department announced they identified 806 additional COVID-19-related deaths that were not included in previous counts. The majority of these deaths happened between Dec. 3, 2020, and Feb. 3, 2021. — Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

Large grocery and drugstore chains in unincorporated areas of L.A. County will be required to give employees a temporary $5-per-hour raise, following a 4-1 vote by the County Board of Supervisors. “We must acknowledge the risk and the sacrifice these workers in our communities are making, and compensate them accordingly,” said Supervisor Holly Mitchell, who co-authored the proposal. The “hero pay” mandate is slated to last for 120 days and will apply to an estimated 2,500 employees.LAist

With an average daily rate of new COVID-19 infections now below 14 per 100,000 residents, L.A. County may resume youth competitive sports under state guidelines, including basketball, football, ice hockey, lacrosse, rugby, rowing, soccer and water polo. As a majority of schools are still shut down due to the pandemic, it remains unclear when student-athletes would see a return to action. Should football, rugby and water polo return, coaches and players aged 13 and above would be required to submit to a COVID-19 test, with results made available within 24 hours of competition. — City News Service

A new COVID-19 testing kiosk opened Tuesday at the Battleship Iowa, currently docked at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro. L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn said testing remains an important aspect of slowing down COVID-19 transmission as vaccine supply remains low. “This new free testing kiosk at the USS Iowa is going to be a quick, accessible way for dockworkers and harbor area residents to get tested and get results quickly,” she said. — NBC Los Angeles

Tuesday, February 23, 2022

Newsom Signs $7.6 Billion COVID-19 Relief Package

The relief package includes $600 checks for qualifying Californians and grants for small businesses.

Los Angeles County health officials confirmed 2,091 new cases of COVID-19 and 157 new deaths Tuesday. To date, the county has reported 1,183,378 confirmed coronavirus infections and 20,057 deaths. — Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a $7.6 billion coronavirus relief package Tuesday morning, paving the way for California to distribute so-called “Golden State Stimulus” checks to approximately 5.7 million qualifying residents. The aid package also includes more than $2.1 billion in grants for small businesses. — Patch

Doctors say individuals who are due for a mammogram screening should schedule their procedure before they receive a COVID-19 vaccine or four to six weeks after receiving the second shot, as lymph nodes will be swollen on the side of the body that received the shot, possibly leading to false readings for breast cancer. — ABC Los Angeles

A team of scientists out of UC San Francisco says the California coronavirus variant spreads more easily than its predecessors and evades antibodies generated through a vaccine or prior infection. The researchers also say this local variant could account for 90% of infections in the state by the end of March. — Los Angeles Times

Monday, February 22, 2022

City-Run Vaccination Sites to Reopen Tuesday

Orange County will start administering COVID-19 vaccines to teachers, child care workers and food industry workers.

L.A. County health officers confirmed 943 new cases of COVID-19 and 21 new deaths Monday. The low number of cases and deaths may reflect a reporting lag over the weekend. In a press release, the Department of Public Health said this week is when the county could begin to report an uptick in infections due to gatherings over Super Bowl weekend. — Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

As concerns over COVID-19 variants grow, the Food and Drug Administration cleared the way for drugmakers to produce modified vaccines without the need for lengthy clinical trials. Drug manufacturers would need to submit new data that shows their modified vaccine generates a similar immune response and is safe — a process similar to how annual flu vaccines are manufactured. — CNBC

Orange County will start vaccinating people in Phase 1B, which includes teachers and child care providers as well as food industry workers. According to county health officials, 30% of their vaccine supply would be reserved for people in this group, with the rest going to people 65 and older. — ABC Los Angeles

All six city-operated vaccination sites are set to resume operations Tuesday, according to Mayor Eric Garcetti, as a delayed vaccine shipment finally arrived in Los Angeles. People whose appointments were postponed last week will be prioritized to receive the vaccine this week. Those who are due for their second shot at a city-run site should receive a notification by Tuesday. — KTLA

USC students can expect a return to some degree of normalcy this fall, as the school plans to resume in-person classes and residential life. In an email sent to students, USC President Carol Folt said the school will implement a variety of protective measures, including vaccinations, testing and social distancing. — Patch

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