L.A. County reports 500 new coronavirus infections and 29 deaths as vaccinations build

Los Angeles County reported 500 new coronavirus infections and 29 deaths on Saturday, Department of Public Health officials announced.

Since the start of the pandemic, 23,918 people have died from COVID-19 across L.A. County, with infections totaling 1,233,488.

The news comes as infections in L.A. County remain at the lowest levels seen throughout the pandemic. The average daily test positivity rate was 0.7% over the past week, according to county data.

About 36% of Los Angeles County residents age 16 and older are fully vaccinated, according to Department of Public Health data, and 54% have received at least one vaccine dose.

But racial disparities in vaccination remain pronounced in L.A. County. More than 50% of white and Asian American residents ages 16 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine, but only 30% of Latino and Black residents in the same age group have.

Across California, more than 30 million vaccine doses have been administered, but demand may be dropping. Recent data indicate the state’s vaccination pace is starting to taper off, and experts predict we are not on track to achieve herd immunity.

However, Californians are far less vaccine hesitant than residents of other states, federal data suggest. Only 11% of Californians have said they will probably not or definitely not take the vaccine a lower rate than in all but four states: Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and Hawaii.

“To those grieving the loss of a family member or friend, our hearts go out to you and we wish you peace,” said Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director. “Getting vaccinated in L.A. County is easier and more accessible than ever before and we encourage everyone waiting to get vaccinated to take advantage of the opportunity as soon as possible.”

Walk-in vaccinations are available without appointments to anyone 16 and older at all L.A. County sites through next week.