Cedars-Sinai: LA medical center's ultra-cold freezers set to store COVID-19 vaccine during rollout

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles is preparing to roll out the first round of COVID-19 vaccines, thanks to some special freezers.

The Beverly Grove hospital has many of the ultra-low temperature freezers which store the vaccine at 80 degrees below zero Celsius.

The facility was chosen as a Los Angeles County distribution site and will coordinate an eventual rollout with state and county health agencies.

Cedars-Sinai officials said front-line health care workers will be among the first to be offered a vaccine.

Los Angeles has issued an order closing restaurants Wednesday night for three weeks. City officials were expected to tell residents to stay home as much as possible after cresting the threshold for issuing a stay-home order Monday. But the Department of Public Health did not immediately issue that order.

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Like all states across the country, California is experiencing a rapid rise of cases that threaten to overwhelm hospitals.

The state has set records on several recent days for total infections detected. Hospitalizations statewide have increased 81% in the past two weeks and by nearly 400 patients in a day.

"Statewide, I don't believe we've ever seen as many hospital admissions increase like we did just in the past 24 hours," said California's health secretary, Dr. Mark Ghaly.

Most of California is under the strictest rules for operating retail businesses at limited capacity and preventing indoor dining. They are also subject to a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew.

Residents were urged to avoid nonessential travel during what is typically the busiest travel period of the year. Anyone entering California was advised to quarantine for two weeks.

Public health officials are bracing for a wave of cases that could follow gatherings at Thanksgiving, particularly as people arrive or return from states or areas with higher infection rates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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