Peter Wells in New York
California’s coronavirus death toll is approaching 30,000 after a deadly start to the year for the country’s most populous state.
Authorities attributed 264 other deaths to the coronavirus on Monday, compared to 468 on Sunday.
On Saturday, the state reported a single-day record of 695 deaths, more than what several states have recorded for the pandemic as a whole.
California’s death toll is 29,965, placing it slightly ahead of the 29,877 reported by Texas officials on Sunday that are expected to be updated later this afternoon. The two states move closer to first place in New York.
Hospitalizations are a ray of hope. While these rose by a net 120 in the last day to 22,633, this is down from Thursday’s record of 22,853. It may also help the national figure, which on Sunday was remained below Thursday’s record of 132,464 for the fourth consecutive day.
The number of intensive care unit beds available in California was 1,242, authorities said Monday, up from a record 1,147 beds on Friday.
The availability of intensive care beds in the Bay Area around San Francisco was 0.7%, California Governor Gavin Newsom revealed at his regular press conference Monday afternoon.
Regular availability of these beds in the major areas of Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley has been zero for weeks.
Mr Newsom, however, took a note of hope and said the rate of increase in hospitalizations and intensive care bed use over the past week was “more modest” than what the state had. known for “many, many months”.
Another 39,839 people have tested positive in the past 24 hours, up from 49,685 on Sunday and over 50,000 consecutive days on Saturday and Friday.
Mr Newsom also said that two gorillas at the San Diego Zoo have tested positive for the coronavirus.
California on Monday became the first US state to confirm more than 2.7 million cases since the start of the pandemic.
The state has administered “nearly 800,000” vaccines, Newsom said, and aims to hit the 1m mark by this weekend.