Orange County opens ‘vaccine super site’ at Disneyland
AS the coronavirus situation in Los Angeles County continues to aggravate hospitals and intensive care units (ICUs), officials issued a desperate plea for the public to “avoid, as much as possible,” contact with people outside the household.
To date, there have been 944,319 positive cases of COVID-19 across the county and 12,674 deaths related to the virus. In one week alone, 1,606 people died due to COVID-19, an average of 230 deaths per day since Jan. 5. On Tuesday, Jan. 12, the county reported 288 new deaths and 11,994 new confirmed cases since the previous day. There are also a total of 7,926 people currently hospitalized for COVID-19 and 22% are receiving intensive care.
The surge is likely due to holiday gatherings in late 2020, and people who are testing now may have contracted the virus over the holiday break. But LA County Public Health asserted that businesses and places of commerce play a significant role in increasing the rate of transmission.
“The risk of acquiring and spreading COVID-19 continues to be elevated in LA County and businesses and employers play a key role in preventing and slowing the spread of COVID-19 within the workplace and community,” the county said in a statement released on Tuesday. “All employers must follow Health Officer Orders and Public Health protocols that are in place to prevent unnecessary spread.”
There have been 538 outbreaks at businesses across the county with the most heavily affected store being Target, which has had more than 323 positive cases in at least 14 locations; 41 were recorded at a Van Nuys location alone, according to the county.
Other businesses with significant outbreaks include Whole Foods (92 cases at six locations) and Home Depot (236 cases at nine locations.)
It’s unclear whether customers have been affected by the outbreaks, but Public Health officials stress the importance of maintaining social distancing and face-covering when in public, and advise that time outside the house should be limited to essential workers or running essential errands like grocery shopping.
The rate of spread has become so uncontrolled that LA County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said in a press briefing on Monday, Jan. 11 that officials are now recommending that people who live with others who may be vulnerable to COVID-19 exposure should wear face coverings at home.
“If you’re a worker who’s leaving every day or you’re somebody who has to run the essential errands in your family, [wearing a face mask at home] will just add a layer of protection while we get through this surge,” Ferrer said.
According to LA County Public Health, 10 residents test positive for COVID-19 every minute, on average. Additionally, “15,000 individuals who test positive each day were capable of infecting others for two days before they had any symptoms or knew they were positive,” a reminder that leaving the house makes that risk even more probable, the county said in a statement.
The county advises the public to be cautious as the vaccine rollout continues across the state. In addition to Dodgers Stadium and Padres Stadium, Orange County officials announced on Monday that the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim will reopen as a massive COVID-19 vaccination site.
“Disneyland Resort is proud to help Orange County and the City of Anaheim with the use of our property, and we are grateful for all of their efforts to combat COVID-19,” Dr. Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, told ABC7. “After a year in which so many in our community have faced unprecedented hardship and uncertainty, there is now reason for optimism with the administration of a vaccine.”
Since March, the Disneyland park has been closed due to the pandemic, but last summer, Downtown Disney, the adjacent shopping and dining district, reopened.
In the fall, the Buena Vista entrance of California Adventure reopened. As of Tuesday, Orange County has had 195,685 positive cases and 2,148 deaths of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency. There are currently 2,200 patients being treated at area hospitals and 535 receiving intensive care.