Vaccine site with capacity to inoculate thousands daily set opens at USC's University Park campus

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A Los Angeles city-run vaccination site is opening at the University of Southern California on Tuesday.

The University Park campus site, near the Exposition Park Metro Station, is expected to be able to vaccinate up to 5,000 people on a daily basis once it is fully operational, making it the second-largest vaccine site run by the city. The site will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In addition to the new vaccination site, the city has partnered with the rideshare app Uber to help people in South L.A. get inoculated at USC.

Uber is providing 15,000 free rides to pick up residents in South L.A. and take them to the site, and 20,000 rides will be available at half-off, "so at a moment when too many people in our city might qualify for the vaccine but don't have a car or a ride, we're going to make sure you get to your shot,'' Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

Uber's CEO says transportation should never be a barrier to getting a vaccination.

The opening of the new site comes as Los Angeles County appears to be on the brink of moving to the less-restrictive red tier, which would allow things like indoor dining and gyms to reopen. Orange County is also on a similar trajectory.

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Los Angeles County officials said they are preparing to advance to a less-restrictive tier of the state's COVID-19 economic reopening blueprint as early as next week.



A change in the tier thresholds mean that could lead to a quicker move to a less-restrictive tier.

L.A. County was initially anticipated to advance into the red tier later this month, with the rate of new daily COVID-19 infections expected to fall below the state-mandated threshold of 7 cases per 100,000 residents as early as Tuesday. If the county maintained that level for two weeks, it would move out of the purple tier and into the red tier.

The state, however, changed the thresholds for advancing through the four-tier Blueprint for a Safer Economy last week, taking into account the volume of vaccines being administered in hard-hit, lower-income communities across the state.

The new thresholds could take effect as early as this week, when the state reaches the milestone of administering 2 million vaccine doses in those hard-hit neighborhoods.

When that happens, advancing to the "red" tier will require a county to have a new case rate of 10 per 100,000 residents -- a rate L.A. County will have already met for the required two weeks. Ferrer said that means the county will likely advance to "red" by the middle of next week.

"If this week's adjusted case rate remains below 10 new cases per 100,000 people, our understanding is that within 48 hours of the state announcing the vaccine trigger has been met, Los Angeles County, along with other counties with qualifying case rates, would move into the red tier," L.A. County Public Health said in a statement. "We will be working with the Board of Supervisors and our sector partners to prepare appropriate modifications to the Health Officer Order reflecting the County's move to the red tier."

City News Service contributed to this report.
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