Los Angeles County reports 7 coronavirus deaths; officials urge caution during holiday weekend

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LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 20: Hadizatou Toure, 35, receives the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccination from registered nurse Janice Taylor at a new, walk-up mobile COVID-19 clinic launched today to provide the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to underserved communities in Los Angeles. The walk-up clinic was presented by Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas in partnership with CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center (CHA HPMC) and the Southern California Eye Institute (SCEI). The Mobile Vaccine Clinic at 1819 S. Western Avenue will be open every Tuesday starting April 20 through May 25 providing free vaccines to community members who are eligible per LA County Department of Public Health (LAC DPH) vaccine distribution guidelines as they partnered with Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science to provide student volunteers for on-site registration allowing for walk-up appointments for community members and further ensuring vaccine access in our hardest-hit communities. Los Angeles on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times).
Hadizatou Toure, 35, is vaccinated in April by registered nurse Janice Taylor in Los Angeles. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County public health officials on Saturday reported 220 new coronavirus cases and seven related deaths, while urging all Angelenos who haven't been vaccinated to follow masking and distancing protocols over Memorial Day weekend.

As California moves toward a full reopening of the economy on June 15 — when nearly all restrictions will be lifted after more than a year — L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer stressed that broad-scale vaccination remains the surest path toward pre-pandemic conditions.

“We are all glad this Memorial Day will look so different from last Memorial Day — it’s such a relief for so many of us to be able to gather with family and friends again,” Ferrer said. “I encourage everyone who hasn't been vaccinated yet to make time to get vaccinated. The vaccine provides the best protection and is keeping transmission in L.A. County low."

L.A. County officials have confirmed a total of 1,243,712 coronavirus cases, including 273 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19, and 24,338 deaths.

Across the county, as in most of the nation, Black and Latino people have been hospitalized and died at disproportionately high rates throughout the pandemic. And the disparities continue to widen, according to new data presented by the Department of Public Health showing that Black residents are now three times as likely to die from COVID-19 as white or Asian American residents.

More than 54% of Californians have received at least one shot of a vaccine, according to a Times analysis, while 43% of Californians are fully vaccinated — far shy of the roughly 85% experts say is needed to bring the pandemic under control.

Anyone 12 and older is now eligible for a vaccine. Families looking for information about vaccine sites should visit the city’s website, the county's site or the Spanish-language site VacunateLosAngeles.com or call (833) 540-0473.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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