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65% Of Skilled Nursing Facility Staff Boosted Against COVID-19

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Vaccination rates among residents and staff at skilled nursing facilities remain above 90%, however many have yet to receive their booster shot.

According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, 91% of eligible residents and 97% of eligible staff are fully vaccinated. However, only 82% of eligible residents and 65% of eligible staff have received their booster shots, as of Jan. 9. The percentage of boosted staff jumped by 11% since the end of December. Healthcare workers are required to receive their boosters by Feb. 1, according to the revised Health Officer Order issued late last December.

Because of the rise in the vaccinations and booster shots, Public Health said new cases have declined 14% among residents and 30% among staff on Sunday compared to two weeks ago.

Officials continue to encourage residents to receive their booster shots after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered that unvaccinated adults are five times more likely to contract the virus compared to fully vaccinated and boosted adults.

"Given the evidence of waning protection from our vaccines over time, efforts need to continue with urgency on making sure that all eligible residents and staff are boosted as soon as possible," Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer.

On Monday, officials announced 25,784 cases with a positivity rate of 13.5%. Public Health also reported 27 news deaths all but two were older than 49 years old.

"The most tragic consequence of this surge is the increase in those dying from COVID. I extend my deepest condolences to everyone who has lost someone to this virus," said Ferrer.

Hospitalizations stayed stagnant with 4,573 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 compared to the previous day's total of 4,568.

"Looking at the hospitalization rate in the last three days, it's actually gone down," said emergency room physician Dr. Michael Daignault. "Today we saw a small uptick in hospitalization rate, but I think we're going to see a progressive downturn in hospitalization."

While sicknesses among fully vaccinated and boosted people are fairly mild, Daignault and others are finding that the illness from Omicron is doing harsh damage to unvaccinated individuals. Doctors are also finding it harder and harder to locate the prescriptions needed to help their patients and keep them out of the hospital.

"Day after day it kind of breaks your heart having the same conversations, 'This is what you need. I'm sorry I can't get it for you," said ICU Director Dr. Thomas Yadegar. "And then the patient ends up in the hospital."

Yadegar also said that his unvaccinated patients are the ones developing severe illnesses.

While doctors are continuing to tend to their patients, they are cautiously optimistic that the surge is easing up.

"I'm hopeful that the worst is over, but we're not out of the woods yet," said Daignault.

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