Coronavirus: California records deadliest day in the pandemic, cases increasing

California recorded more than 600 deaths in a single day for the first time on Friday, marking the deadliest day in the pandemic amid a holiday season surge.
California counties reported 682 deaths from COVID-19 on Friday, as well as 49,423 cases. So far, 29,238 people have died from the virus in the state and 2.6 million have been infected. A forecast from the California Department of Public Health anticipates deaths will reach almost 36,000 by January 30.
The state now has a seven-day average of 411 new deaths and 42,340 cases and has recorded more than 500 deaths in a single day four times since Dec. 31. During a summer surge from June through August, California peaked at 215 deaths and 16,521 new cases in a single day.
Nearly half of the deaths on Friday — 318 of them — were in Los Angeles County, the latest and hardest-hit county in the state. The second-most new deaths were in San Diego County with by 33, then San Bernardino County with 32. That was followed by Riverside, Santa Clara and Orange counties. Los Angeles County also recorded the most new cases in the state Friday with 18,001, then San Diego County with 4,550 and Orange County with 3,544. They were followed by Riverside, San Bernardino and Kern counties.
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The surge has also reached hospitals, where on Thursday 21,855 patients were hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19, down 0.4 percent from Wednesday but up 214 percent from the late July peak of the summer surge. There were also 4,812 patients in intensive care unit beds with confirmed cases of COVID-19, up 1.5 percent from Wednesday and up 137 percent from a July peak.
The Bay Area is now at 3 percent ICU availability, the Southern California and San Joaquin Valley regions are at 0 percent availability. The Greater Sacramento region is at 6.4 percent and Northern California at 27.5 percent.
The increasing number of deaths, infections and hospitalizations come amid efforts to speed up the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, where California has lagged behind most other states. California has administered 1,479 vaccines for every 100,000 residents, the 9th fewest in the country. Among other large states, New York has administered 2,235 doses per 100,000, Texas 2,132 per 100,000 and Florida 1,875 per 100,000.
As part of an effort to vaccinate more people, California has also expanded its eligibility to include, among others, workers at primary care clinics, dental and oral care clinics and pharmacies.

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