The announcement by President Joe Biden and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week that they feel fully vaccinated people can comfortably shed their masks in most public locations was a welcome one for many Americans.
It was also welcomed by Glendale Fire Chief Silvio Lanzas, who, like many others, read between the lines when the president said that if you’re vaccinated, the federal government won’t be the one to tell you to keep your mask on. A popular interpretation of the statement is that, as vaccination rates tumble, officials are hoping to encourage more Americans to get their inoculations against the coronavirus.
The national pause on using the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine against COVID-19 has brought the city’s home-vaccination program to a halt this week. Once the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health aligned itself with the Centers for Disease Control and Food and Drug Administration — the two organizations announced this week they are reviewing use of the vaccine after a small number of incidents — that forced the Glendale Fire Department’s hand. Fire Chief Silvio Lanzas said he and their partner, Glendale Memorial Hospital, have to follow the health department’s direction. “We hope to bring the program back, but we’re just unsure what happens with the Johnson & Johnson vaccines,” he said this week.
Glendale residents will soon see more of the normality they were used to before the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year. The L.A. Department of Public Health announced this week that the county has met the threshold for the orange tier — indicating moderate infection of the coronavirus — of the state’s blueprint for a safer economy. The next-to-lowest tier loosens restrictions on businesses and allows theme parks to reopen. The new health order will go into effect this coming Monday, April 5. “After a year of fear, anxiety and tragic loss, we’re seeing glimmers of hope once more,” County Supervisor Hilda Solis said in a virtual update on Tuesday. “But this didn’t happen just by accident. This was because of our collective hard work.”
Hospital officials in Glendale are urging residents to commit to behavior that will significantly reduce their potential exposure to the coronavirus, as the explosive surge in COVID-19 cases that began in late November continues to push medical facilities to the brink. Southern California has been at 0% availability for intensive care unit beds since late December, according to county Department of Public Health officials. The raging surge in daily new coronavirus cases continues to set records nearly every day as medical centers scramble to add personnel as they’ve reportedly turned away ambulances and others seeking emergency care.