As Public Health Marks One Year Anniversary of First COVID-19 Death, COVID-19 Vaccination Eligibility Expands

119 New Deaths and 1,514 New Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed 119 new deaths and 1,514 new cases of COVID-19. To date, Public Health identified 1,206,713 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 22,213 deaths. Cases reported today include a few hundred backlogged cases from faxed provider reports.

The seven-day average number of cases by episode date has decreased to less than 700 per day as of March 2.

As cases decline the numbers of people hospitalized for COVID-19 continue to decline, though we are not back to the pre-surge level. There are 1,079 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 30% of these people are in the ICU.

Testing results are available for more than 5,915,000 individuals with 19% of people testing positive.  Today’s daily test positivity rate is 2.3%.

To date, Public Health has confirmed a total of 47 cases of COVID-19 U.K. variant, 9 cases of New York variant and one case of the P.2 Brazil variant in Los Angeles County. All the cases of the U.K. variant have been identified since Jan 15, and the first case of the P.2 variant from Brazil was identified two weeks ago. All 9 cases of the NY variant were identified since March 3.  In addition, there have been 262 California variant cases identified, with the vast majority of these cases identified since December 1 of last year. There have been no cases identified in L.A. County with the South African variant. This latest analysis of specimens is the first time the New York variant was identified in Los Angeles County.

Of the 119 new deaths reported today, 44 people that passed away were over the age of 80, 33 people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79, 30 people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64, six people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49, and one person died who was between the age of 18 and 29. Five deaths were reported by the City of Long Beach.

Los Angeles County has now met the threshold to start qualifying for the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy less restrictive red tier that allows for additional re-openings. L.A. County’s adjusted case rate dropped from 7.2 new cases per 100,000 people to 5.2 new cases per 100,000 people. The test positivity rate dropped from 3.5% to 2.5%, and in areas with the fewest health affirming resources, L.A. County has a test positivity rate of 3.6%.

The County needs to have qualifying metrics for one more week to be eligible on March 17 for additional re-openings.

The County could move to the red tier sooner because the state has an acceleration trigger built into the Blueprint that allows counties to move to the red tier if their case rate is below 10 new cases per 100,000 residents once 2 million doses of vaccine have been administered to residents across the state living in the least resourced communities. Once this vaccination threshold is met L.A. County will qualify to move into the red tier since the County will have already had an adjusted case rate of under 10 new cases per 100,000 residents for two consecutive weeks.  The state is reporting over 1.9 million vaccines have been administered to date to residents in under-resourced communities.  Given all the efforts this week to make sure people in the hard-hit communities have better access to vaccines, it may only be a couple of days until the 2 million threshold is reached.

Public Health continues to work with the Board of Supervisors and sector partners to prepare modifications to the Health Officer Order to permit additional activities allowed in the red tier.

L.A. County schools will be able to open on-site learning for grades 7 through 12 once the County moves into the red tier. One effective strategy for reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19 is for schools to create stable learning groups. A stable learning group is a fixed group of students and staff that stays together minimizing any mixing with any other groups for any activities.  Creating and maintaining stable groups is required for students attending in person instruction in grades TK through 6 and strongly recommended for in-person learning for students in grades 7 through 12. Schools all need to maintain distancing, masking and infection control practices for re-openings to happen with as much safety as possible.  While vaccinations and testing are additional available tools, they are not a substitute for core public health practices that, when used with fidelity, significantly limit virus transmission.

“Today marks the one-year anniversary of the first death from COVID-19 here in L.A. County. Tragically, one year later, over 22,000 people, including grandparents, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, friends and co-workers, have passed away from this terrible virus here in L.A. County, leaving a huge void behind. There has been tremendous tragedy and suffering here and across the world, and to all who are mourning, we are with you in your sorrow,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “Variants remain a concern, even as more and more people are vaccinated. As we plan for additional re-openings, we know that if there is more transmission of the COVID-19, there is more risk of variants dominating and more risk of suffering.  That is why it is so important for all of us to continue to do everything we can to reduce transmission, including masking and maintaining physical distance whenever we are outside of our homes and around others.”

Custodians and janitors, public transit workers, and airport ground crew workers are all now eligible to be vaccinated, as directed by the State. Emergency responders like social workers who handle cases of violence, abuse or neglect and foster parents providing emergency housing for young people, are also eligible to be vaccinated. We are currently coordinating with unions and employers to set up vaccination sites and make appointments at our large county sites available for these groups.  For the janitorial and custodial workers, we are in the process of creating appointments this weekend on both Saturday and Sunday at the Forum and on Saturday at the LACOE/Downey vaccination site.

Next week, on Monday, March 15, vaccine eligibility will open up to people ages 16 through 64 who have underlying health conditions or disabilities that put them at the highest risk of becoming very sick from COVID-19.  These conditions include:

  • Cancer, with a current weakened immune system
  • Chronic kidney disease, stage 4 or above
  • Chronic pulmonary disease, oxygen dependent
  • Down syndrome
  • Solid organ transplant, leading to a weakened immune system
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies (but not hypertension)
  • Severe obesity with a BMI of more than 40
  • Type 2 diabetes with A1c level greater than 7.5%
  • Or Having a disability that: makes serious illness from COVID-19 likely; would, if positive for COVID-19, limit the person’s ability to received care vital to their well-being and survival; or would make the treatment for COVID-19 particularly challenging.

Providers and healthcare facilities are working to use their health record systems to identify patients who have these conditions and reach out to them so they can be vaccinated.  It is our understanding that the state will be releasing guidance on other ways people with these conditions can verify their eligibility to be vaccinated.

Throughout the pandemic, people living in low-resourced neighborhoods and people of color have been disproportionally impacted by COVID-19. While we see cases dropping overall, there remains a gap between Latino/Latinx residents and other groups, though this gap is narrowing. The rate dropped from a peak of 2,452 new cases per 100,000 people in early January for Latino/Latinx residents to 139 new cases per 100,000 people as of February 27. Black/African American residents have the second highest case rate of 78 new cases per 100,000 people. White residents have a case rate of 73 new cases per 100,000 people and Asian residents have a case rate of 63 new cases per 100,000 people.

When the surge began in early- November, the average number of Latino/Latinx residents who passed away each day was 3.4 deaths per 100,000 people and then sharply increased to 59 deaths per 100,000 people in mid-January. As of February 27, the mortality rate among Latino/Latinx residents has declined to 13 deaths per 100,000 people, yet still remains more than double that of other groups. Since mid-January, the mortality rate among African American/Black residents decreased from nearly 29 deaths per 100,000 people to 6 deaths per 100,000 people. Deaths among Asian residents have declined since the peak, from 26 deaths per 100,000 people to 5 deaths per 100,000 people. The current mortality rate among White residents is also 5 deaths per 100,000 from the peak of about 20 deaths per 100,000.

In mid-January, those in the lowest resourced areas were experiencing an average of 70 deaths each day from COVID-19 per 100,000 residents.  That was more than three times the death rate for those living in higher income areas at 22 deaths per 100,000 people.  As of February 27, the mortality rate among residents in the lowest resourced areas decreased to 12 deaths from COVID-19 per 100,000 people, twice that for people living the highest resourced areas, at 6 deaths per 100,000 people.  The gaps are closing, just not as quickly as we would like.

As we vaccinate our residents who are 65 and older, we are seeing a very similar and damaging pattern of disproportionality. White and Asian residents 65 and older continue to have the highest vaccination rate. As of March 6, almost 59% of White residents and almost 53% of Asian residents 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Almost 48% of American Indian/Alaska Native residents, 43% of Latinx residents, and 38% of Black residents who are age 65 and older have received at least one dose. While these inequities are stark and unfair, we are working to close these gaps and have made some progress improving vaccination rates in the hardest hit communities. The vaccination rate for Black residents saw the largest increase at almost 92%. For American Indian/Alaska Native residents, the vaccine rate increased almost 70%, and for Latinx residents the vaccine rate increased by 65.8%.  The vaccine rate for White residents increased by 46.1% and for Asian residents increased 44.3%.

As more groups become eligible to be vaccinated and we continue to have a shortage of supply, we are prioritizing closing these gaps and making sure that the hardest hit communities have access to the vaccine and barriers that prevent this are mitigated.  Strategies to ensure this include: having sites in areas that have been most impacted by this pandemic and have the fewest resources; collaborating with faith based and community based partners to make appointments for community residents, and creating ways to solve transportation and registration barriers. We will continue to work with our extraordinary partners to innovate and create ways that are tailored to our county and to the people who live here so that everyone has access to the vaccine.

For information about vaccine appointments in L.A. County and when your turn is coming up, to sign up for a vaccination newsletter, and much more, visit: (English) and (Spanish).  Vaccinations are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status.  L.A. County sites are only vaccinating people who either live or work in L.A. County.   If you do not live or work in L.A. County, please do not make a vaccination appointment at an L.A. County site, and if you have an appointment at an L.A. County site, please cancel it, you will be turned away if you come to the appointment.

County Reopening Protocols, COVID-19 Surveillance Interactive Dashboard, Roadmap to Recovery, Recovery Dashboard, and additional actions you can take to protect yourself, your family and your community are on the Public Health website,

      Please see additional information below:


Total Cases

Laboratory Confirmed Cases


— Los Angeles County (excl. LB and Pas)*


— Long Beach


— Pasadena




— Los Angeles County (excl. LB and Pas)


— Long Beach


— Pasadena


Age Group (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas)

– 0 to 4


– 5 to 11


– 12 to 17


– 18 to 29


– 30 to 49


– 50 to 64


– 65 to 79


–  over 80


–  Under Investigation


Gender (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas)

–  Female


–  Male


–  Other


–  Under Investigation


Race/Ethnicity (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas)

–  American Indian/Alaska Native


–  Asian


–  Black


–  Hispanic/Latino


–  Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander


–  White


–  Other


–  Under Investigation


Hospitalization (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas)

–  Hospitalized (Ever)


Deaths Race/Ethnicity (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas)

–  American Indian/Alaska Native


–  Asian


–  Black


–  Hispanic/Latino


–  Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander


–  White


–  Other


–  Under Investigation