What to Know

  • California’s COVID-19 death toll reached 30,000 on Monday after the state’s deadliest weekend of the pandemic.
  • California ranks third nationally for COVID-19-related deaths, behind Texas and New York, which is No. 1 with nearly 40,000.
  • The fight against a post-holiday surge has several new fronts — large-scale vaccination sites, including Dodger Stadium and Disneyland.

California is transforming baseball stadiums, fairgrounds and even a Disneyland Resort parking lot into mass vaccination sites as the coronavirus surge overwhelms hospitals and sets a deadly new record in the state.

California’s COVID-19 death toll reached 30,000 on Monday, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. 

It took six months for the nation’s most populous state to reach 10,000 deaths but barely a month to jump from 20,000 to 30,000 deaths. California ranks third nationally for COVID-19-related deaths, behind Texas and New York, which is No. 1 with nearly 40,000.

Public health officials have estimated about 12% of those who catch the virus will require hospital care, usually several weeks after infection as they get sicker.

Gov. Gavin Newsom and public health officials are counting on widespread vaccinations to help stem the tide of new infections, starting with medical workers and the most vulnerable elderly, such as those in care homes.

Newsom, a Democrat, acknowledged the rollout of vaccines has been too slow and he pledged 1 million shots will be administered this week, more than twice what’s been done so far.

That effort will require what Newsom called an “all-hands-on-deck approach,” including having vaccinations dispensed by pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, dentists, paramedics and emergency medical technicians, and members of the California National Guard.

Orange County, south of Los Angeles County, announced Monday that its first mass vaccination site will be at a Disneyland Resort parking lot in Anaheim. It’s one of five sites to be set up to vaccinate thousands of people daily.

The sites are “absolutely critical in stopping this deadly virus,” county Supervisor Doug Chaffee said in a statement.

The state will vastly expand its effort with new mass vaccination sites at parking lots for Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Petco Park in San Diego and the CalExpo fairgrounds in Sacramento.

Cars lined up early Monday near the downtown stadium in San Diego, where officials aimed to inoculate 5,000 health care workers daily.

“It’s kind of like a Disneyland ride” with cars moving through, said Heather Buschman, spokeswoman for UC San Diego Health, whose medical staff was administering the shots.

She said people seemed eager to be vaccinated, with more than 12,500 health care workers in San Diego County initially scheduling appointments.

By week’s end, the city of Los Angeles planned to convert its huge COVID-19 testing site at Dodger Stadium into a vaccination center to handle 12,000 inoculations daily.

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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