Rate of coronavirus cases among LAPD officers plummeting; mass vaccination slated to begin next week

The rate of new coronavirus cases among Los Angeles Police Department officers is falling, the police chief said Tuesday, reflecting a broader slowdown in new cases across the state as officials increase efforts to get more people vaccinated.

Chief Michel Moore said just 34 LAPD employees have tested positive for coronavirus since last week, bringing the total number of cases in the department to around 2,630.

That’s a major drop in the rate of new cases from the previous two months. Through December and January — when the Los Angeles region became one of world’s COVID-19 epicenters — more than 20 LAPD employees a day were testing positive, according to department figures.

So far, eight LAPD employees have died. One remains in the hospital in critical condition, Moore said at the Los Angeles Police Commission on Tuesday.

Moore said LAPD would begin mass vaccinations of department employees starting March 1. That’s months after the city first started receiving vaccine shipments. Officials in the Los Angeles Fire Department said in late December that vaccinations of firefighters would begin that month — that process of vaccinating the entire department is still ongoing.

In the meantime, LAPD has been relying on leftover vaccines meant for firefighters. In that way, around 2,000 LAPD employees had already been vaccinated by early February.

Moore previously said issues with vaccine supplies were also leading to delays.

In a survey of employees earlier this year, the department found that the vast majority of employees wanted to take vaccines, or would do so with more information. About a fifth of respondents to the survey said they would not take the vaccine.

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