Recently confirmed infections are increasing at a dizzying rate of more than a quarter of a million per week and over the weekend a record 1,163 deaths were reported – Orange County topped 2,000 reported deaths.
Deprived of visitors for months because of the pandemic, Disneyland will soon see thousands of guests when it is one of Orange County’s five planned mass vaccination sites.
County officials announced the deal on Monday January 11 to use the theme park in its efforts to increase vaccinations as the number of Orange County residents hospitalized with the virus hovers above 2,200.
“The Disneyland Resort, the largest employer in the heart of Orange County, has stepped up to host the county’s first Super POD (distribution point) site – undertaking a monumental task in our vaccine distribution process,” said said interim supervisory board chairman Andrew Do said in a press release.
Supervisor Doug Chaffee, whose district includes Disneyland, said his constituents “have been hit hard by COVID-19. These Super PODs are absolutely essential in stopping this deadly virus. ”
The county has not shared details of how and exactly the vaccination site on the Disneyland property, but the press release said it will open later this week to serve – by appointment only – people who live or work in Orange County and are eligible based on the state’s priority list.
Currently, the state is still in the highest priority phase of vaccinations, which target people working in health care, including employees of hospitals, laboratories and pharmacies, paramedics and paramedics, home helpers. , as well as residents and workers of long-term care facilities.
Most eligible workers will be notified by their employer and will be asked to make an appointment through an app, Othena, the county has helped grow.
“Disneyland Resort is proud to help support Orange County and the City of Anaheim with the use of our property, and we are grateful for all of their efforts to fight COVID-19,” Dr Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, said. “After a year in which so many members of our community have faced unprecedented challenges and uncertainty, there is now reason to be optimistic about the administration of a vaccine.
Other planned mass vaccination sites were not named by the county – spokeswoman Molly Nichelson said contracts were still being finalized – but the Voice of OC previously said they could include Costa Mesa Fairgrounds, Great Orange County Park in Irvine, Knott’s Berry. Farm in Buena Park and Soka University campus in Aliso Viejo.
Large-scale vaccinations for thousands of medical workers will be conducted at baseball stadiums in Los Angeles and San Diego and at fresno and Sacramento. They are among cities across the country that are converting huge parking lots into massive vaccination stations to speed up vaccinations after the initial rollout fell below expectations.
Gov. Gavin Newsom acknowledged that the vaccine rollout had been too slow and promised that a million vaccines will be administered this week, more than double what has been achieved so far.
This effort will require what Newsom has called an “all-terrain approach,” including vaccinations from pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, dentists, paramedics and emergency medical technicians, and members of the Guard. California National.
Orange County is also recruiting volunteers to help run its sites, including people with medical training and others to perform non-medical tasks. County officials have set a target to complete all vaccinations by July 4.
California’s death rate currently ranks third nationally, behind Texas and New York, which is No. 1 with nearly 40,000 deaths. It took California six months to register its first 10,000 deaths. But in just a month, the total has risen from 20,000 to 30,000, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
Still, Newsom and the state’s chief health official, Dr Mark Ghaly, said there was a silver lining, with hospitalizations leveling off last week and vaccinations about to be phased out. top speed.
New hospital admissions fell from around 3,500 a day earlier this month to around 2,500, “a significant difference” which shows that the Christmas and Hanukkah holiday wave “is not as big as we planned it, ”said Ghaly, California secretary. Health and Social Services Agency.
Yet recent chilling jumps in new positive cases show the state may have simply taken the time to prepare for what officials still expect to be a month-end spike in part due to the celebrations of the month. New Years, Ghaly and Newsom said.
The state may have “a little leeway,” Ghaly said, enough for hospitals to prepare, to ensure they can provide enough oxygen both in medical facilities and on discharge. patients at home, and for 1,000 new contract medical workers to be reinforced approximately 1,000 before surge peaks.
“I don’t want to think that we’ve gone out of the woods to any extent,” Ghaly said, adding later that “we’re at the start of this holiday wave. It looks encouraging at the moment.
Information on Orange County’s vaccination efforts can be found at occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/covid-19-vaccine-resources.
The Associated Press and editor Brady MacDonald contributed to this report.