By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Since vaccines were approved for emergency use, new cases of COVID-19 have plummeted at LA County’s nursing homes, according to public health officials.

For the week of April 17, just 26 people were positive out of the nearly 45,000 tested among LA County’s skilled nursing facility staff and residents. Six of those cases were residents, while the other 17 were staff.

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That’s a nearly 99% drop from the week of Dec. 28, 2020, as the virus surge this winter and before vaccine rollout ramped up, when 2,532 people tested positive – 1,423 of them residents, and 1,109 staff.

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“Where we see high rates of vaccination, we are seeing transmission of COVID-19 plummet,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of LA County Public Health, said in a statement. “Each person that is vaccinated has the best protection against COVID-19.”

As of April 17, 83% of skilled nursing facility staff and current residents both have received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Of those who have gotten their first dose, 96% of staff and 91% of residents are now fully vaccinated.

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Skilled nursing facilities were severely impacted by COVID-19, with nearly half of LA County’s COVID-19 deaths reported from such facilities at the onset of the pandemic at this time last year.