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O.C. pharmacies coming online to offer COVID-19 vaccines after fed vows to ship 1M doses next week

Customers
Customers walk into CVS pharmacy in Newport Beach at 2521 Eastbluff Drive on Thursday, Feb. 4. CVS will begin offering COVID-19 vaccines, on a limited basis, at 100 locations across California starting on Feb. 11.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

For area residents still clamoring to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, good news arrived this week as White House officials announced a partnership with 6,500 pharmacies nationwide would make 1 million doses available at local retailers, including in Orange County.

Pharmacy retailer CVS announced it would begin offering doses in limited quantities at 100 locations across California beginning Feb. 11, including Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Irvine.

CVS Health spokeswoman Monica Prinzing confirmed eligible customers could begin signing up as soon as Feb. 10 to receive one of 81,900 doses made available throughout the state through the federal pharmacy partnership program.

Though Prinzing would not clarify which specific stores would receive doses, she said more locations and appointments will come online as supplies became available. State criteria will determine an individual’s eligibility, and patients are asked to register in advance at CVS.com, through the CVS Pharmacy smartphone app or by calling (800) 746-7287.

White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters Tuesday supplies would be limited at first but assured the program could eventually scale up to include as many as 40,000 pharmacies.

“This will provide the public with convenient and trusted places to get vaccinated in their communities,” Zients said. “This initial phase will get more shots in arms and ensure that pharmacies have the infrastructure to scale up when [the supply] is increased in the months ahead.”

Costa Mesa City Manager Lori Ann Farrell Harrison discussed the pharmacy partnership in a City Council meeting Tuesday evening, updating the public on various measures being undertaken to widen vaccine distribution.

“Please avail yourself of your pharmacy. Register onto CVS or to Walgreens or Rite Aid, whichever pharmacy you use” she said. “These are all going to be used as additional channels through the United States government to get vaccines out to you.”

Farrell Harrison said Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach and Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley were planning to redeploy physicians and nurses, previously burdened by a surge of COVID-19 patients, to participate at a greater level in hospital-affiliated vaccination efforts.

In Costa Mesa, city officials are preparing for the eventuality of opening a third county super point-of-dispensing site at the O.C. fairgrounds, while a smaller vaccine clinic for pre-registered seniors will take place Sunday at the Costa Mesa Senior Center, thanks to a partnership with Hoag.

“Please rest assured that every effort is being made to try to expedite vaccines as much as possible,” Farrell Harrison told the public.

Meanwhile, Orange County Health Care Agency officials on Thursday recorded 602 new coronavirus infections, bringing the cumulative total to 235,310 cases. With another 50 deaths reported, the countywide fatality rate rose to 3,249.

Area hospitals reported 1,238 residents were being treated for COVID-19, with 365 in intensive care units representing 29.5% of the hospitalized population.

The county’s seven-day average of new cases stands at 39 per 100,000 residents. Another 17,063 tests reported Thursday brings the cumulative number of tests issued to 2,733,220 and accounts for a seven-day average testing positivity rate of 10.9%.

Here are the latest cumulative coronavirus case counts and COVID-19 deaths for select cities in Orange County:

  • Santa Ana: 42,484 cases; 572 deaths
  • Anaheim: 39,292 cases; 600 deaths
  • Huntington Beach: 9,605 cases; 153 deaths
  • Costa Mesa: 8,235 cases; 89 deaths
  • Irvine: 9,476 cases; 54 deaths
  • Newport Beach: 3,381 cases; 55 deaths
  • Fountain Valley: 3,177 cases; 52 deaths
  • Laguna Beach: 740 cases; fewer than five deaths

Here are the case counts by age group, followed by deaths:

  • 0 to 17: 24,053 cases; one death
  • 18 to 24: 32,627 cases; six deaths
  • 25 to 34: 47,264 cases; 35 deaths
  • 35 to 44: 36,843 cases; 72 deaths
  • 45 to 54: 37,792 cases; 212 deaths
  • 55 to 64: 29,487 cases; 430 deaths
  • 65 to 74: 14,726 cases; 626 deaths
  • 75 to 84: 7,371 cases; 767 deaths
  • 85 and older: 4,993 cases; 1,100 deaths

Updated figures are posted daily at occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc. Information on the COVID-19 vaccine in Orange County can be found at occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/covid-19-vaccine-resources.

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