LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Fire Department has experienced a “drastic decline” in the test positivity rate and the number of individuals out sick with COVID-19 within its workforce, officials said Monday.
“With a nearly 75 percent acceptance rate in our department, the COVID-19 vaccine is allowing us to keep our first responders on track to stay as healthy as possible during these most challenging times of the pandemic,” county fire Chief Daryl Osby said in a statement.
“With the second dose of the vaccine now being given to our team members, this will provide another layer of protection and allow us to continue to seamlessly provide the highest level of care to our patients,” Osby said.
The fire department’s Emergency Medical Services Bureau coordinated its first vaccination clinics countywide in late December, administering more than 3,000 vaccines.
At the time, the fire department was reporting COVID-19 test positivity rates equivalent to that of the county’s rate of 18 percent.
In the weeks since the first vaccination clinics, the department has steadily reported and documented steep declines in its COVID-19 test positivity rates from its highest weekly average of 18 percent to its current rate of 5.6 percent, fire officials said.
“As expected, the vaccine began to have its impact seven to 10 days after the first vaccines were given,” county fire Medical Director Dr. Clayton Kazan said in a statement.
“As the county continues to surge, new cases among department personnel began dropping precipitously as did our test positivity rate,” Kazan said. “This is the first time in the entire pandemic that our data diverged from that of the County.”
This week, LACoFD physicians, pharmacists, nurses, nurse practitioners and paramedics will administer the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to department members, including Osby.