No L.A. County health care workers have died of COVID-19 in weeks as group’s infection rate dropped sharply following vaccine push

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Registered nurses and health care professionals attend a candlelight vigil at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Panorama City on April 28, 2021. (Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty Images)

Registered nurses and health care professionals attend a candlelight vigil at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Panorama City on April 28, 2021. (Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty Images)

Health care workers at the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic in Los Angeles County are seeing the effects of vaccination as no deaths have been recorded among the group in the past three weeks, public health officials said Tuesday.

COVID-19 cases among medical workers in L.A. County have dropped sharply since they began getting vaccinated in December. There were nearly 2,000 new cases among health care staff in the last week of December, but as of last week only 43 new cases were recorded in the demographic, the county Department of Public Health said in a news release.  

Additionally, this week is the eighth in a row that there have been no more than 50 new infections reported among medical professionals, officials said.

As of Tuesday, the virus had claimed the lives of 262 health care workers countywide. In the first week of this year alone, during the height of the winter surge, two dozen died.

“Getting vaccinated is the way we end this pandemic,” public health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement.

Case rates are also dropping among another demographic among the first to be vaccinated in L.A. County: nursing home staff. More than 1,100 nursing home staffers tested positive for the coronavirus in the first week of this year, but that figure had dropped to 11 new cases as of late April, officials said.

On Tuesday, 224 new infections and 18 additional deaths were reported countywide. Meanwhile, 374 people are still batting the disease in L.A. County hospitals, but overall hospitalizations are at their lowest point since the pandemic began.

“While we are relieved that our metrics remain stable, we continue to mourn the loss of life and send our deepest sympathies to everyone who is missing a loved one who passed away from COVID-19,” Ferrer said.

Public health officials also said Tuesday that new state data shows L.A. County will be able to keep its place in the yellow tier, the least-restrictive under California’s reopening guidelines.

The county’s adjusted case rate dropped from 1.6 new cases per 100,000 people to 1.4 new cases per 100,000. Officials say they were also able to close the gap in the testing positivity rate between higher- and lower-income areas, with both now at 0.7%.

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