California COVID crisis: First state to hit 2 million cases

Bay Area

CONCORD (KRON) — California is the first state to reach 2 million total cases of COVID-19.

The state reached the grim milestone just before Christmas. The consequences of Californians celebrating and traveling for Thanksgiving has local and state officials pleading for people to skip the Christmas parties.

Johns Hopkins University’s count on Thursday says California recorded 2,010,157 infections since January, and over 23,000 COVID-19 deaths.

“Pick up your phones right now. Cancel any plans you were anticipating with anyone who does not live with you,” a Santa Clara County official said Wednesday.

Staying home for the holidays is not just about containing cases. It helps healthcare workers who are overwhelmed with patients. And it will determine whether businesses in the Bay Area can safely reopen.

On Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom did give some signs of hope that the stay-at-home orders are working. The rate of positive cases is starting to trend down, although it’s still dangerously high.

The Bay Area region is down to a collective 12.4% ICU capacity. Many specific counties have much less capacity than that.

The overfilled hospitals do not just impact COVID-19 treatment, but also anyone who needs medical attention for other issues like heart attacks and car accidents.

The regional stay-at-home order which is triggered by regions falling to 15% ICU capacity is supposed to stay in place for a minimum of three weeks — this brings the Bay Area to an expected Jan. 8, 2021 reopening.

But it will be extended if the ICU capacity does not climb back to above 15%. And if people ignore warnings about Christmas celebrations, the extension is likely.

Nearly 17,000 Californians are currently hospitalized statewide and more than 3,000 are in the ICU.

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