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Orange County, Long Beach Announce COVID Vaccinations For Older Residents

LONG BEACH (CBSLA) — Orange County and the city of Long Beach both announced Tuesday they will immediately begin offering the COVID-19 vaccine to older California residents.

Long Beach health officials said residents 75 and older will be able to receive the vaccine beginning Saturday, with clinics held weekly for people in that age group.

O.C. officials announced that they will immediately begin offering vaccines to people 65 and over.

"COVID-19 is literally everywhere," said Dr. Jim Keany of Mission Hospital. "Right now Orange County has a 17 percent positive rate on the tests. So that means almost one out of five people that you pass have COVID."

Some Southern California jurisdictions are moving ahead with more availability of COVID-19 vaccines. Dodger Stadium and other locations around the state have been tapped to serve as mass vaccination sites.

The news comes as the O.C. Health Care Agency reported 28 more COVID-19 fatalities and 3,258 new cases, raising the death toll to 2,148 and the cumulative case count to 195,685.

The number of patients hospitalized with coronavirus edged down from 2,221 Monday to 2,200 Tuesday. The number of intensive care unit patients dipped down from a record 544 on Monday to 535.

In a virtual briefing Tuesday, California Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said officials are reviewing new guidance from the federal government encouraging states to re-evaluate COVID-19 vaccination distribution priorities.

While some reports said some people are hesitant to get vaccinated, others are pushing to get the shots faster. On Monday, leaders of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union locals representing workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach sent a letter to county health officials and the governor, asking that they become eligible for vaccines at the beginning of Phase 1B.

ILWU contended that eight union members have died from the virus since early December, and in the first week of January, 54 more positive cases have been confirmed among the workers.

"It is thanks to the hard work of our members that cargo moves efficiently through the San Pedro Bay Port Complex," ILWU wrote. "This in turn keeps store shelves stocked with the food, goods, and personal protective equipment millions of Americans need as they shelter in place or care for those suffering the effects of COVID-19. While we are proud to be essential, we refuse to be overlooked as this virus rages on."

Despite nearly 2.5 million vaccine doses distributed to California, roughly 784,000 shots had been administered as of this past weekend, Newsom said Monday.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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