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A.M. Brief: Vaccination Begins As Hospital ICU Capacity Dwindles

December 15, 2020 by Brian Champlin
Photo via LA County

L.A. County’s first COVID-19 vaccinations were a positive development, but the daunting outlook for infection spread and diminishing ICU capacity has health officials on edge. Also this morning: LAUSD students get extra time not to fail, the County IG calls out the Sheriff’s resistance to oversight, and the City Attorney files a lawsuit against an underground party club. It’s Tuesday. Here is your news. Take it!

Morning News Rundown

Even as the first vaccine doses in California were administered yesterday in Los Angeles, dwindling hospital capacity continues to alarm public health officials. According to the director of L.A. County Health and Human Services, there are only 370 available hospital beds in the entire county, while ICU capacity has shrunk to just 56 adult ICU beds. There are currently over 4,400 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Los Angeles County, and Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer anticipates that number will climb to over 5,000 this weekend. [Deadline]

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In an effort to avoid penalizing students who have been unfairly affected by the pandemic and complications from distance learning, the Los Angeles Unified School District is extending a “no fail” policy for students through at least Jan. 29. Students who received failing grades have until then to make up work. [KTLA]

A 17-page letter published yesterday by Los Angeles Inspector General Max Huntsman details a laundry list of accusations against the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, demonstrating what Huntsman calls a “pattern and practice of the repudiation of oversight by the Office of Inspector General.” The allegations include failures to release documents or investigate violent cliques within the department, destruction of evidence, and threats made by the Sheriff against public officials. [CBS Los Angeles]

The L.A. City Attorney has filed a lawsuit against the managers of the LA Party Society, who have allegedly been hosting unlawful indoor gatherings for months inside an underground club in the Fashion District. The suit seeks millions in damages stemming from violations of public nuisance and unfair competition laws. [L.A. Times]

A new lawsuit filed by the California Attorney General has accused Amazon of withholding information related to an investigation of its COVID-19 safety and protocols, as well as raw data about infections and deaths from outbreaks at facilities within the state. Amazon claims it has cooperated, but the suit alleges the company has “failed to adequately respond” to an investigative summons sent on Aug. 19. [Cal Matters]

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