What a week! Already the Biden administration is moving quickly to address the COVID-19 pandemic through a series of executive orders and has pledged 100 million vaccines in 100 days. Hopefully Los Angeles will soon receive some federal infusion to help us cut our City budget deficit and reinvigorate our local economy. Between the new federal administration and Los Angeles County’s movement to distribute and expand vaccines here in Los Angeles, there certainly seems to be light at the end of what has felt like a very long and dark tunnel.
Mayor Garcetti has let us know that, so far in Los Angeles, our City vaccine distribution plan led by the Los Angeles Fire Department is going smoothly at the City’s five vaccination sites. We have vaccinated most frontline medical workers and critical emergency personnel, and we have completed vaccinations for all residents and workers in our City’s skilled nursing facilities –– the most vulnerable of our senior residents who accounted for nearly half of all deaths in Los Angeles in the early months of the pandemic.
Nevertheless, the most recent bit of good news is that the County has now opened up appointments for LA residents 65 and older. But vaccine doses remain very limited across the United States, and future doses will rely on incoming supply.
To deal with this challenge, several weeks before the first vaccine arrived, I introduced a motion to ask County Public Health to inform us of the plans for storage and distribution to make sure that our residents can receive inoculations in the most efficient and effective manner possible. I know that it can be very confusing trying to determine who’s eligible and how they can sign up for COVID-19 vaccinations.
Furthermore, I have invited Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of LA County Public Health to join us at this coming Wednesday's City Council meeting to answer a variety of questions about the pandemic. More specifically, I am planning to ask her about the ongoing surge in COVID infection rates and what efforts are being made to expand vaccine rollout. We also will have Jaime Garcia, Regional Vice President at Hospital Association of Southern California, to answer questions about hospitals, how the surge has impacted frontline workers, and about any resources that may be needed. Although I will have a limited amount of time to ask questions, I invite you to suggest any questions that you feel would be pertinent during this special information session. Please send your questions to my Director of Legislation Jeffrey.Ebenstein@lacity.org.
You can tune in to City Channel 35 or at the City Council LiveStream website that will begin streaming at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 27th. Dr. Ferrer is scheduled to join us at 11:00 a.m.
I have provided more information and helpful links among community updates in the newsletter below.
Councilmember Paul Koretz, Fifth District
In the News
Here are the vaccine facts you need to know:
ELIGIBLE NOW: All L.A. residents 65 and older are now eligible for the vaccine in L.A. County, joining healthcare workers, certain essential frontline workers, and residents and staff of skilled nursing facilities on the list of those who can currently get vaccinated. You don’t have to live in the city to come to one of our sites, and if you are a City of L.A. resident, you can go to any L.A. County site as well. For those 65+ who DO NOT have access to the internet, you can call the Call Center at 833-540-0473. It is open seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
UP NEXT: The next eligible group to receive vaccinations will be workers in education and childcare, emergency services, and food and agriculture, as soon as the County and State give the green light. Hopefully the priority will be given to those workers providing childcare who can help get our schools open for our children allowing more people to return to work when it is safe. See what phase you'll be in.
VACCINATION SITES: More than 98 locations are currently vaccinating people in L.A. County. Each week, as doses become available, more sites and providers will administer shots. When your turn arrives, you’ll need to make an appointment through the City portal or the County hub and bring your ID to the site. You can also talk with your doctor about the vaccine.
APPOINTMENTS ARE REQUIRED: At this time you must have a prior appointment in order to be vaccinated.
ELIGIBILITY DOES NOT NECESSARILY INCLUDE FAMILY: The state and county’s phased rollout is based on the risks associated with your job or health factors. These factors may differ within members of the same family or household.
APPOINTMENTS ARE NOT TRANSFERABLE: You should not use any links or appointments that are not addressed to you. You will be asked for identification and will be turned away if you are not the individual who was invited to be vaccinated. Vaccines will be available in a matter of months, if not weeks, and in order to ensure everyone gets a vaccine, it is important that you seek a vaccine when it is your turn.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE SECOND SHOT: The COVID-19 vaccine is a two-part inoculation. To achieve the proper level of immunity, you must receive two shots timed 21 or 28 days apart, depending upon the vaccine you receive. It is important to find out which vaccine you receive so that you and your provider can plan for your second shot.
VACCINATIONS DO NOT REPLACE WEARING A MASK AND SOCIAL DISTANCING: We don’t know if vaccines stop spread or how long it might take to build immunity in the population. We all must continue wearing a mask and social distancing. We need to do as much as we can to stop the virus. Vaccines boost your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed –– but researchers are still working to determine whether it also prevents the virus’s spread. The more people who choose to get vaccinated when it is their turn, the faster we will reach a point where the pandemic comes to an end. Therefore, once you are vaccinated, it is important to continue wearing a mask, washing your hands, and social distancing. Together, these tools offer the best protection from COVID-19 until the pandemic is behind us.
Please click here for frequently Asked Questions where you can also sign up for alerts and updates.
Please click here for the phases and tiers of vaccine distribution.
Please click here for an easy, color-coded way to track distribution in the County
LA County Launches Loan Program to Help Stabilize Small Businesses
Starting January 28th, businesses will now have access to flexible and affordable capital and free technical assistance through the new countywide Small Business Stabilization Loan Program. The loan program is made possible through a $10 million business recovery assistance fund issued by the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The funds were made available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Recovery Assistance, and are intended to prevent job loss and business closure. The Program will provide flexible and affordable capital to small businesses Countywide.
The program will also provide eligible businesses with a competitive interest rate for loans ranging from $50,000 to $3 million. Businesses interested in applying for the Program must have been in operation for at least two years and are seeking working capital, equipment purchases, real estate acquisition, or refinancing of existing loans at higher interest rates.
The Small Business Stabilization Loan Program will start accepting applications on January 28, 2021, and will remain open indefinitely. In order to apply, the applicant is required to attend an online “Applying for An Affordable & Flexible LACDA Loan” webinar to learn more about requirements of the application process and documentation needed. Webinars are currently available for registration. Upon completion of the webinar, the LACDA will then connect interested applicants with a Technical Assistance provider to assist with the business loan application. Further details are available at BizStabilization.LACDA.org.
The Program has also been augmented with technical assistance partners that offer complementary one-on-one financial consultations, application assistance, and evaluating how ready a business is to commit to a loan with the LACDA. Technical assistance is available in various languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin), and Korean.
LAFD Red Flag Days Update
Within the past month and a half, the City implemented the RED FLAG NO PARKING restrictions due to extreme weather conditions.
Sometimes it may be confusing to know if one's home is in the Red Flag area. Aside from the posted signs, residents living in the High Fire Severity zones can enter their addresses to check the LAFD and city partners recently updated website, https://ers.lafd.org/redflag/.
Please click on SEARCH and enter an address. If that address appears, it is in the zone and a resident can then sign up for alerts.
Growing Vibrant LA Communities: Tree Canopy Equity – Green Streets & Green Jobs
We're kicking off 2021 with the next installment of the Growing Vibrant LA Communities web series, a free event designed to empower, educate, and connect Angelenos to our shared urban forest.
This next webinar will tackle the issue of urban tree equity. You'll have the chance to learn from LA's Urban Forest Equity Visiting Scholar, Dr. Vivek Shandas, and hear directly from youth working in the urban forestry and non-profit sector in Los Angeles.
Please RSVP here to join the Zoom webinar on Tuesday, February 9th at 10:00 a.m. and feel free to invite your family, neighbors, colleagues, and friends!
Dementia Home Safety for Caregivers Webinar
On January 26th from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 pm, Alzheimer's Los Angeles, Supervisor Janice Hahn and the LA County initiative LA Found are co-sponsoring a webinar to help educate caregivers of persons with dementia. The theme will be how to stay safe at home focusing on strategies to help prevent individuals with Alzheimer’s from wandering and avoiding potential accidents. Information about L.A. Found’s Project Lifesaver program and enrollment will be provided.
Register at bit.ly/DementiaHomeSafety