California to give 40% of vaccine doses to vulnerable areas News Staff

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California will begin setting aside 40% of all vaccine doses for the state’s most vulnerable neighbourhoods in an effort to inoculate people most at risk from the coronavirus more quickly.

That’s according to two Newsom administration officials who shared details Wednesday on condition of anonymity.

The doses will be spread out among 400 ZIP codes with about 8 million people eligible for shots. Many of the neighbourhoods are concentrated in Los Angeles County and the Central Valley. The areas are considered most vulnerable based on factors such as household income, education levels and housing status.

Once 2 million vaccine doses are given out in those neighbourhoods, the state will make it easier for counties to move through reopening tiers that dictate what businesses can be open.

The details were shared Wednesday by two Newsom administration officials who spoke only on condition of anonymity.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles County could move into the next phase of reopening with fewer restrictions as early as next week, though any actual lifting of coronavirus-related constraints would not happen immediately, health officials said Wednesday.

The county, the nation’s most populous with its 10 million residents, has recorded more than 1.9 million COVID-19 cases during the pandemic. It is currently in the state’s most restrictive category — known as the purple tier — because of widespread transmission.

Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director, said she expects the county to move into the red tier as early as next week. The tiers are based on test positivity rates and adjusted case rate figures.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said at an event Wednesday that he wants to incorporate vaccination rates into the tier system and has already been talking with local health officials about it.

California’s overall positivity rate has fallen to its lowest level during the pandemic and the 7-day positivity rate stood at 2.2% Wednesday. In Los Angeles County, the 7-day positivity rate is 3.5%. The county would need Newsom’s permission to advance and must remain within the red tier’s requirements for two weeks before anything reopens.

Most San Francisco Bay Area counties have advanced to the next phase, which allows restaurants and movie theatres to open indoors at 25% capacity and gyms to operate at 10% capacity.

Ferrer said there is a “high likelihood” the reopenings would begin sometime this month.

Kathleen Ronayne And Stefanie Dazio, The Associated Press

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