Los Angeles County seniors can make appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations starting this Thursday. Also this morning: Five new vaccine mega-sites open today, the LAUSD wants to turn schools into vaccination centers, and high winds cause red flag conditions and power shutoffs. Finally, fraud in state unemployment benefits is creating one big mess. Here is your Tuesday news rundown. Take it!
Morning News Rundown
As the vaccine rollout in Los Angeles County faces criticism over logjams and distribution hiccups, Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda Solis signed an executive order on Monday making COVID-19 vaccines available to seniors. The order, which falls in line with California’s statewide policy, permits everyone 65 or older to start making vaccine appointments as soon as Thursday. [ABC 7]
In addition to Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles County will open five additional large-scale vaccination sites today, each expected to vaccinate about 4,000 people per day. The new vaccination hubs are located at the Pomona Fairplex, The Forum in Inglewood, California State University Northridge, the L.A. County Office of Education in Downey, and Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia. [We Like L.A.]
LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner says that 1,400 Los Angeles schools could and should be transformed into COVID-19 vaccination centers. Yesterday, Beutner sent a letter to the state asking for such permission, with a plan to first vaccinate staff and community members first, then moving to children once vaccines have been approved for their age groups. [ABC 7]
With high winds and red flag warnings across Southern California today, SoCal Edison has temporarily cut power to about 5,500 customers in L.A., Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties. The wind warnings also prompted officials in Orange County to close the Disneyland vaccination site for the day. Power should be restored to affected customers by 10:30 p.m. tonight. [KTLA]
The LASD’s “super-spreader task force” continues to crack down on large gatherings throughout the county. Over the weekend, deputies broke up a party in South L.A. estimated to have over 200 attendees. 167 people were cited for violating health orders. [ABC 7]
Some 1.4 million jobless Californians received a message over the holidays stating that their unemployment benefits had been frozen due to possible “fraudulent activity.” New verification steps have been added for those who wish to reinitiate benefits, though some still haven’t heard back from the state after submitting the required documentation. State of California investigators say that fraudulent claims for unemployment paid out by the EDD could top $9 billion, more than double an earlier estimate. [LAist]