header image

[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
53°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
February 28
1890 - Jenkins ranch hands Dolores Cook and George Walton of Castaic slain by rival William Chormicle and W.A. Gardener [story]
Dolores Cook


SACRAMENTO — California will expand vaccine eligibility to an estimated 6 million residents under the age of 65 with severe disabilities and underlying conditions beginning next month.

Under the latest criteria announced Friday by the California Department of Public Health, providers will be encouraged next month to “use their clinical judgment” while consulting a checklist of disabilities and serious health conditions. After more than two months of focusing on health care workers and seniors, the state wants to offer vaccines to another large swath of residents severely at risk of dying from COVID-19 starting March 15.

The notice sent to providers on Friday lists qualifying conditions such as cancer, down syndrome, heart conditions, severe obesity, pregnancy and people with severe developmental disabilities.

“We’re focused on saving lives, focused on promoting equity and we’re focusing on getting to the other side of the pandemic with vaccines,” California Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly told reporters.

Ghaly said the decision could extend eligibility to an estimated 4-6 million Californians with severe disabilities and/or underlying conditions and that plans are being finalized to incorporate the new group next month. Under the scheme, disabled residents will be directed to smaller, more specialized clinics as opposed to some of the mass-vaccination centers that have sprouted throughout the state.

While officials say the list of severe disabilities and underlying conditions is subject to change, providers at the specialized clinics will likely determine eligibility by accessing patients’ medical records.

California is currently allowing health care and frontline workers as well as individuals over 65 to receive the vaccine, a pool representing an estimated 13 million.

Asked about further delaying the vaccine to the high-risk cohort, Ghaly defended the decision saying the state was still hamstrung by a meager vaccine supply and that more time was needed to ensure the current group is vaccinated.

“We believe this planning period is appropriate and the bottom line is we’re still dealing very much with a scarcity of vaccine,” Ghaly said.

After weeks of being pressed by disability rights groups, California Governor Gavin Newsom promised the state would make a more concerted effort to vaccinate residents with severe disabilities and underlying conditions beginning in March.

“I want the disability community to know, we’ve heard you, and we’re going to do more and better to provide access, even with the scarcity,” Newsom said while touring a San Francisco vaccination site.

The announcement comes amid a continued stretch of improvement on the pandemic front.

Counties reported 10,000 new infections Friday, down from 36,000 one month ago. Hospitalizations have dropped nearly 35% over the last two weeks and the state’s positivity rate — a key indicator of community spread — has plummeted from 13.5% on Jan. 12 to 4.3% on Friday.

As for the overarching vaccination effort, Newsom says the state continues to see progress and has tripled its vaccination pace from a month ago. California counties have now administered 5.5 million doses and the state is averaging 200,000 daily inoculations.

But vaccinations have likely hit a plateau, with Newsom echoing Ghaly’s concern the federal government is not providing the nation’s most populous state with enough vaccines.

“It’s simple: the answer is, there are not enough vaccines coming to the state of California,” the Democratic governor said. “This is the issue that will become an even bigger issue.”

Citing a lack of fresh supply, many counties have begun reserving doses for patients needing their second round of the vaccine while a mass vaccination center at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles has also temporarily shut down.

In Los Angeles County, roughly 1.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been put into people’s arms since the widescale vaccination program began last month. More than 1 million of those vaccines were first dose shots and fewer than 300,000 were for second doses, according to public health officials.

That puts L.A. in a precarious position as 13% of the county has received their first dose and just 4% have been fully vaccinated. Many of the vaccines set to arrive this week will go to fill that second-dose deficit.

The lag in available vaccines has hampered the full-scale response health officials in L.A. were hoping to mount.

“We’re all frustrated. We know we could do much more with available doses,” said L.A. County Chief Science officer Paul Simon during a press briefing on Friday. “We’re now receiving 200,000 doses each week. As we’ve surveyed all our providers, we’re confident that we could administer up to 600,000 doses a week. So we have much, much greater capacity if we could get the available vaccine.”

Newsom says the Biden administration is now providing states with a three-week outlook on vaccine allotments but that the totals are far from adequate. Next week California is slated to receive 1.2 million doses, a slight increase over the last few weeks.

To address concerns about unequal vaccine distribution, Newsom administration officials detailed a five-step process providers are being given to ensure a more equitable process going forward.

For the first time on Friday, the state released information regarding the distribution of vaccine doses by race. Whites have received 32% of doses tracked so far, followed by Latinos (15.8%), “multi-race” (13.9%), Asian Americans (13.1%) and Blacks (2.8%).

According to the document, the state is creating a formula to determine where communities of color and those hardest hit by the virus have received a disproportionate vaccine share. The state and its third-party administrator, Blue Shield of California, will then compensate providers for reaching the impacted communities.

The state also plans to spend $30 million to help community organizations on outreach programs and a public education campaign.

Newsom acknowledged the state hasn’t paid enough attention to underserved communities when it comes to the potentially life-saving vaccine.

“We’re going to incentivize good behavior, we’re going to pay for performance, and we’re going to encourage efficient distribution, administration, and data collection,” Newsom promised.

While not the announcement most parents are looking for, the state on Friday did launch a new online map detailing where individual school districts are at in the reopening process.

The color-coded “Safe Schools Reopening Map” covers both public and private K-12 schools across the state and places districts in one of four categories: in-person, hybrid, distance learning only and no status available. Information on COVID-19 outbreaks, testing, and enrollment will soon be incorporated to the map, Newsom said.

The first iteration shows that outside of various rural counties, campuses remain uniformly closed in major cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Jose.

Newsom, who claims he and the Legislature are on the brink of announcing a new comprehensive schools plan, said the new map is intended to boost transparency and help local officials with reopening decisions. After nearly a year of closures, Newsom said the state is preparing to give local officials more freedom to reopen.

“We need to get our schools reopened in the state of California for our youngest cohorts. We can do that safely. Our kindergarten students, our 1st- and 2nd graders first. We’ll get our 3rd- 4th- 5th- and 6th- graders in as a second cohort,” Newsom said. “We can do that as a state, working with the Legislature to support efforts at the local level.”

— By Nick Cahill and Nathan Solis, CNS

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Friday, Feb 26, 2021
Modified Sand Canyon Resort Project Up for Review
The Sand Canyon Resort project is scheduled to return before the Santa Clarita Planning Commission Tuesday with a series of revisions, following multiple concerns raised by both commissioners and residents.
Friday, Feb 26, 2021
Friday COVID-19 Roundup: SCV Cases Total 26,045; Nearly 2 Million Doses Administered in County
Los Angeles County Public Health officials on Friday confirmed 144 new deaths and 1,838 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 26,045 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Friday, Feb 26, 2021
State on Track to Reach Capacity Goal of 3 Million Vaccines Per Week, Pending Available Supply
California Department of Public Health officials announced on Feb. 26 that California is on track to create the capacity to administer 3 million vaccinations per week by March 1.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1890 - Jenkins ranch hands Dolores Cook and George Walton of Castaic slain by rival William Chormicle and W.A. Gardener [story]
Dolores Cook
1950 - Ex-Mrs. William S. Hart appears in court to challenge will that leaves Hart Park & Mansion to L.A. County [story]
Winifred Westover
The Sand Canyon Resort project is scheduled to return before the Santa Clarita Planning Commission Tuesday with a series of revisions, following multiple concerns raised by both commissioners and residents.
Modified Sand Canyon Resort Project Up for Review
Los Angeles County Public Health officials on Friday confirmed 144 new deaths and 1,838 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 26,045 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Friday COVID-19 Roundup: SCV Cases Total 26,045; Nearly 2 Million Doses Administered in County
The Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles announced on Feb. 26 that Kenya Yarbrough will lead its newly-created and first-ever Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity, Access, and Advocacy Initiative.
Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles Launches First-Ever Diversity and Advocacy Department
The Valley Industry Association will welcome College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook as the keynote speaker for the March VIA Virtual Series taking place Tuesday, March 16, from 11:00 a.m to 12:15 p.m.
March 16: VIA Virtual Series with Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook
The city of Santa Clarita’s Planning Commission will hold a regular meeting virtually Tuesday, March 2, at 6:00 p.m.
March 2: Planning Commission Virtual Regular Meeting
The Child and Family Center's Domestic Violence Program is set to host its fourth annual "Night of Expression" art exhibit on Saturday, Feb. 27, in recognition of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
Feb. 27: Child and Family Center to Host Virtual Teen Dating Violence Awareness Art Exhibit
California Department of Public Health officials announced on Feb. 26 that California is on track to create the capacity to administer 3 million vaccinations per week by March 1.
State on Track to Reach Capacity Goal of 3 Million Vaccines Per Week, Pending Available Supply
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital is set to host events and classes in March to celebrate National Nutrition Month.
Henry Mayo to Host Events, Classes for National Nutrition Month
The college district received the best rating possible in an independent audit of its general obligation bond expenditures.
Independent Audit Finds College District in Full Compliance
After being shuttered for almost a year due to pandemic restrictions, Mountasia Family Fun Center has been purchased by MB2 Group.
MB2 Group Purchases Mountasia Family Fun Center
The California Department of Motor Vehicles announced a new round of extensions for commercial driver’s licenses expiring through May 31 that will help commercial drivers focus on delivering essential products and supplies during the COVID-19 emergency.
DMV Extends Expiring Commercial Driver’s Licenses Through May
1923 - U.S. release of Charles Chaplin film "The Pilgrim," partially shot at Saugus Train Station & Newhall First Presbyterian Church [watch]
The Pilgrim
Fry's Electronics, the consumer electronics retailer, announced Wednesday that it is going out of business after nearly 36 years.
Fry’s Electronics Closing All Its Stores
The Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) announced Thursday the upcoming launch of the Los Angeles Online Dispute Resolution (LA-ODR) program, in collaboration with the Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County and its Dispute Resolution Program (DRP), and the Center for Conflict Resolution.
L.A. County Launches Program to Help Litigants Settle Cases Online
A former manager of the Valencia COVID-19 testing lab is being sued by the operator for breaching her contract after she accused the company of poor performance.
PerkinElmer Suing Whistleblower for Breach of Contract
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Thursday 132 new deaths and 2,072 new cases of COVID-19, with 25,990 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Thursday COVID-19 Roundup: SCV Cases Nearing 26,000; L.A. County Reaches 100 MIS-C Cases in Children
Three hundred sixty-six feature films are eligible for the 2020 Academy Awards, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today.
Academy Announces 366 Feature Films Eligible for 2020 Best Picture Oscar
Hannah Cumming is exactly the type of player Master's women's soccer head coach Curtis Lewis appreciates.
Hannah Cumming Signs with TMU
Santa Clarita City Council members declined Tuesday to administer $6.8 million in state rental assistance funds for eligible residents who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and let the state handle those dollars but approved creating a program for them with $6.3 million from the federal government.
Rental Aid Program Coming to Eligible Santa Clarita Residents Impacted by Pandemic
The Santa Clarita City Council Legislative Committee will hold a special meeting virtually Friday, Feb. 26, at 2:00 p.m. 
Feb. 26: City Council Legislative Committee Virtual Special Meeting
As Los Angelenos envision their future — whether it’s housing, parks or wellness — there is much they can learn from the past.
CSUN Collaborates with Tataviam, Indigenous Communities to Create Virtual, Ecological History Map
Flair Cleaners, Southern California’s leading eco-friendly dry cleaner, is hosting its 6th Annual Flair Cares Food Drive, Hang Up Hunger, through March 31
Annual Flair Cares Food Drive Underway
%d bloggers like this: