California tops 50,000 virus deaths, including 806 in L.A.

FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, file photo, a health care worker tends to a COVID-19 patient in the intensive care unit at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center during the coronavirus pandemic in San Jose, Calif. The coronavirus death toll in California surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, marking about one-tenth of the U.S. total from the pandemic. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County on Wednesday reported another 806 deaths from coronavirus during the winter surge, pushing California’s toll above 50,000, or about one-tenth of the U.S. total from the pandemic.

The county, which has a quarter of the state’s 40 million residents, said the deaths mainly occurred between Dec. 3 and Feb. 3. The Department of Public Health identified them after going through death records that were backlogged by the sheer volume of the surge’s toll.

“It is heartbreaking to report on this large number of additional deaths associated with COVID-19 and a devastating reminder of the terrible toll the winter surge has taken on so many families across the county,” Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County’s health director, said in a statement.

Johns Hopkins University put California’s overall COVID-19 death toll at 50,890.

The grim figure comes just days after the U.S. recorded a half-million deaths.

While the nation’s most populous state has the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S., it is ranked 25th in the number of cases per capita because of its large population.

The death toll climbed precipitously amid a fall and winter surge that has begun to taper off as cases and hospitalizations drop. Los Angeles County on Wednesday reported an additional 136 new deaths, accounting for nearly half of the state's 314 additional deaths.

The state has begun to ease more restrictions on businesses after lifting a stay-home order about a month ago and Gov. Gavin Newsom has vowed to reopen schools soon despite opposition from some teachers unions.