California health officials on Friday reported a record-breaking total of 685 coronavirus deaths in one day as many hospitals, especially in southern California, are under unprecedented pressure. This was well above the previous record, set Wednesday, of 560 deaths statewide.
The flood of cases continued, with California reporting 49,319 new infections on Friday. San Francisco recorded 451 new cases on Saturday, its highest daily figure to date.
Hospitals have reported a record low availability of intensive care beds since the start of the pandemic, with just 1,147 places for critically ill patients – 63 fewer than the day before.
Meanwhile, coronavirus hospitalizations have reached nearly 22,000 and state models predict that number could reach 30,000 by February 1.
Bay Area intensive care beds remained at 3% of capacity on Saturday, well below the 15% needed to ease restrictions and reopen restaurants or other services.
The order to stay home from the area could have been lifted as early as Friday, but given the outbreak, no one expected this to happen. San Francisco health officials decided last week to extend the order for the city indefinitely.
“Our case rate and numbers are at an all time high, and some of our hospitals are already being taken to extremes,” Sonoma County public health official Dr Sundari Mase said in a statement. “The fact that the regional stay-at-home order for the Bay Area has been extended is further proof of how quickly the virus is spreading in our region and throughout the state.
Under the ordinance, residents are required to stay at home except for essential activities such as work, errands or medical appointments. Outdoor recreation is permitted.
Vaccine rollout has remained slow, with 652,128 doses administered in California out of 2,060,800 shipped to local health systems – enough for about 1 in 40 people in the state to get the two doses required.
Nationally, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned on Wednesday of the coronavirus fallout from the Capitol Riot in Washington. “You had largely unmasked individuals in an undistarted fashion, crossing the Capitol,” Dr Robert Redfield told the McClatchy News Service, adding that since attendees have now dispersed across the country, a “spreading event important ”result.
Jill Tucker is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @jilltucker