LOS ANGELES – The coronavirus toll in California reached another frightening milestone Thursday with health officials announcing a one-day record of 379 deaths and a two-day total of nearly 106,000 newly confirmed cases.
The nation's most populous state has recorded more than 1,000 deaths in the last five days. Its overall case total now tops 1.7 million, a figure nearly equal to Spain's and only surpassed by eight countries. The state's overall death toll has reached 21,860.
Many of California's hospitals are running out of capacity to treat the severest cases, and the situation is complicating care for non-COVID patients.
“It’s pretty much all COVID,” said Arlene Brion, a respiratory therapist at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital in Orange County, where she’s assigned six or seven patients rather than the usual one to three. “There’s probably two areas that are clean but we’re all thinking eventually it’s all going to be COVID.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti revealed his 9-year-old daughter has the virus and is recovering with mild symptoms while he and his wife tested negative. The family is quarantining.
Garcetti gave a stark briefing to city residents, warning that within days LA County may declare a systemwide crisis with all hospitals out of usual space and staffing. The hospitals are planning by identifying areas such as parking lots and conference rooms that can be used for patient care.
He also reminded residents that the governor earlier announced the state had ordered 5,000 additional body bags and has dozens of refrigerated trucks ready to use as temporary morgues to handle bodies too numerous for existing morgues.
“That frightens me, and it should frighten you," Garcetti said.