Los Angeles County public health authorities on Sunday reported 408 new cases of the coronavirus and five related deaths.
New cases and deaths are often lower on weekends because not all laboratories report results. Even so, the figures continue to indicate that the region has so far avoided the variant-driven surge that has troubled some other states, such as Michigan.
The signs of progress have buoyed hopes that authorities can vaccinate enough people at a sufficient speed to head off a potential new wave of infection.
There were 407 COVID-19 patients in county hospitals as of Saturday, a decline of nearly 14% from two weeks before. During the peak of viral transmission in January, more than 8,000 people were hospitalized in L.A. County.
And the share of coronavirus tests coming back positive continues to dip lower than at any point since the start of the pandemic. Saturday’s daily test positivity rate was 0.7%. In early January, roughly 1 in 5 tests performed daily in Los Angeles County were coming back positive.
Vaccination sites run by the city of Los Angeles plan to dole out nearly 150,000 first and second shots this week, including 29,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine the city had been holding onto during the 10-day pause in its use.
L.A. County officials had announced providers could resume administering J&J doses as soon as Saturday after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention accepted an advisory panel’s decision that the disease-fighting benefits of the shots outweighed the risks, which include reports of a rare but potentially deadly blood clotting disorder.
“To end this pandemic, we need to use every dose we have — and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a critical piece of that strategy,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said Sunday in a statement.
The city will this week open a new Century City site where people can receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, bringing the total number of fixed vaccination sites to 10. City-run vaccination sites are open Tuesday through Saturday except Dodger Stadium which will be closed Wednesday for a Dodger game, the city said.
So far, 44.1% of Los Angeles County residents have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 28.1% are fully vaccinated, according to The Times’ vaccine tracker.