Department Emphasizes Access to Vaccines, Testing, and Treatment for Residents Amid Ongoing Pandemic Challenges
As the U.S. Public Health Emergency and the National Emergency Declaration for COVID-19 come to an end today, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) reaffirms its commitment to providing residents with the necessary tools to combat the ongoing pandemic and keep community transmission at bay.
While the conclusion of the federal state of emergency signifies a shift in the pandemic, COVID-19 remains a leading cause of death in Los Angeles County, necessitating continued efforts to mitigate severe illness through widespread vaccination, testing, and treatment availability.
Thankfully, residents of Los Angeles County will experience minimal immediate changes in their access to preventive resources. The federal government will continue to supply COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, including Paxlovid and Molnupiravir, at no cost, regardless of insurance coverage.
In California, new laws mandate insurance plans, including Medicare or Medi-Cal, to cover the cost of vaccines, testing, and Paxlovid for COVID-19 treatment until November 11, 2023. Coverage specifics may vary depending on individual insurance plans.
Uninsured residents can receive free at-home test kits or PCR tests for COVID-19 at public health clinics, vaccination sites, and community health centers, or purchase tests from local retailers. Individuals without insurance can visit coveredca.com to determine their eligibility for Medi-Cal or Covered California coverage.
Public Health’s dedicated Call Center will continue operating, connecting eligible residents to free telehealth services, homebound vaccination appointments, COVID-19 information, and other vital resources. To access these services, residents are encouraged to call 1-833-540-0473, available daily from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
This week, the average number of COVID-19 hospitalizations stands at 252, similar to the 266 reported last week. Weekly deaths have also remained stable at 46, slightly lower than the 51 reported last week.
Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, expressed her condolences to those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 and acknowledged the ongoing impact of the virus on the county. She highlighted Public Health’s commitment to reducing transmission and ensuring accessibility to life-saving vaccines, therapeutics, and tests, especially for the underinsured and uninsured.
Public Health will continue its surveillance efforts by sequencing COVID-19 variants and strains. Currently, XBB.1.5 remains the dominant strain in Los Angeles County, accounting for 83% of sequenced specimens as of the week ending April 15, 2023. XBB.1.9.1 is the second most prevalent strain, comprising 7% of sequenced specimens. Additionally, there have been 13 confirmed cases of XBB.1.16, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates to account for 10% of cases in California and surrounding states.
Starting today, the CDC is replacing the COVID-19 Community Levels with hospitalization metrics, and Los Angeles County will closely monitor hospitalization data in alignment with the CDC, alongside various other metrics available on the county’s dashboards.
As of Tuesday, May 9, Los Angeles County has recorded a total of 36,291 COVID-19-related deaths.
Public Health remains steadfast in its commitment to combating COVID-19, ensuring public safety, and adapting to potential changes in transmission patterns. The department encourages residents to remain vigilant and take advantage of available resources to protect themselves and their communities.
For more information, visit the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s response plan dashboard