Los Angeles County reported another 1,173 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 additional deaths associated with the virus Saturday.
Saturday's numbers brought the county's totals to 1,484,192 cases and 26,540 deaths since the pandemic began, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the county dropped from 621 on Friday to 614, according to state figures. There were 175 COVID patients in intensive care, up from 173 a day earlier.
Meanwhile, with federal approval in hand, Los Angeles County providers have begun offering COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to people who previously received any of the three vaccinations in circulation.
Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approved the wider distribution of booster shots Friday, following a recommendation Thursday from a CDC advisory panel.
Booster doses had previously been available only for people who received the Pfizer vaccine during their initial doses. The new CDC approval now offers booster shots to people who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Under the federal guidance, people can receive a different brand of booster shot than their original doses.
Booster shots are available for people who are:
- 65 years of age or older;
- aged 18 and older and living in long-term care settings;
- aged 18 and older with underlying medical conditions; and
- aged 18 and older and living or working in high-risk settings.
People who received the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna shots should not receive a booster until at least six months after their last dose. For the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, people must wait at least two months after their shot.
"While we continue prioritizing getting unvaccinated people vaccinated against COVID-19, we encourage everyone who is eligible to enhance their immunity by getting a booster dose," county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. "It is important that those at high risk because of their age, underlying health conditions or occupational setting get their booster dose, and we're encouraging people that fall into these higher-risk categories, to please make sure you are getting your boosters well before the holidays."
According to numbers released Thursday, 79% of eligible county residents aged 12 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 71% are fully vaccinated.