California’s deadly Christmas was marked by pleas to avoid festive gatherings outside the home and church services indoors in what could be a decisive effort to stem a surge in coronavirus that has already filled some hospitals far beyond capacity. normal.
Holiday gatherings with friends and family could be tempting after a year in which the pandemic claimed nearly 24,000 lives and devastated the economy, as much of the state remained under a stay-at-home order that has shut down non-essential businesses.
But officials repeated warnings that Thanksgiving gatherings in which people did not wear masks or observe social distancing have led to a surge and have begged people to give up the Yule and New Years holidays.
In Sonoma County, California’s wine country, a Native American casino announced it was canceling a private indoor event planned for New Year’s Eve that could have drawn up to 4,000 people.
The Graton Resort and Casino is located on sovereign native land that is not subject to state or county health orders, but had come under scrutiny for the event.
Governor Gavin Newsom said hospitals are under “unprecedented pressure” and that if current trends continue, the number of people hospitalized from the virus could double in 30 days.
“We could have an increase in addition to the increase in addition to an increase in January and February,” Newsom said in a video posted on social media Thursday. “I am afraid of that, but we are not victims of that if we change our behaviors.”
Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have increased exponentially in recent weeks and are breaking new records.
On Christmas Eve, California became the first state in the nation to surpass 2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases.
On Friday, the state reported more than 39,000 new COVID-19 cases as of Thursday, a 2 percent increase from the previous day, but still well below the peak of more than 53,000 cases reported last week. The 14-day daily average was less than 40,000 cases.
312 new deaths were reported, a 1.3% increase from the previous day, but still well below last week’s peak of 379.
However, the overall death rate has increased by more than 16% in two weeks.
The first case of coronavirus in California was confirmed on January 25.
It took 292 days to reach 1 million infections on November 11. Just 44 days later, the number surpassed 2 million.
The crisis is putting pressure on the state’s medical system far beyond its normal capacity, prompting hospitals to treat patients in tents, offices and auditoriums.
As of Thursday, California had a record number of COVID-19 patients in hospital and ICUs, at nearly 19,000 and nearly 4,000, respectively.
Friday’s figures did not show an increase in hospitalizations and there were a few more ICU beds available, for a total of about 1,400 statewide, according to the California Department of Public Health.
However, ICU capacity varied among the five regions of the state.
The Northern California region had more than 36% of ICU capacity, while the Southern California and San Joaquin Valley regions were technically at 0% capacity, meaning they had no more beds. Regular ICUs available.
The hardest-hit hospitals were turning to augmentation capacity by placing patients in areas that were not originally designated for the same level of care, such as postoperative recovery rooms.
“In most hospitals, about half of all beds are filled with COVID patients and half of all ICU beds are filled with COVID patients, and two-thirds of these patients suffocate due to inflammation. of their lungs caused by the virus, “said Dr. Christina Ghaly, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.
“They are suffocating to the point where they can no longer breathe on their own and have to have someone put a tube down their throat to oxygenate their organs. Many of these people will not live until 2021.” “he said Thursday.
Hospitals have also hired additional staff and canceled elective surgeries, all to increase capacity before cases contract over Christmas and New Years in the coming weeks.
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“We understand that people are tired, but public health measures are not the enemy, they are the roadmap for a faster and more sustainable recovery,” said a statement from the Public Health Alliance of Southern California, which includes 10 neighboring local health departments covering nearly 60% of the state’s population.