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Washington National Cathedral rings funeral bell for 30 minutes to mourn 300,000 COVID-19 deaths

Due to the surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Tuesday said the state ordered 5,000 additional body bags and 60 refrigerated trucks to deal with the increase in deaths.

California recorded 32,326 new COVID-19 cases and 142 deaths on Tuesday, and its 14-day average positivity rate is 10.7 percent; two weeks ago, the rate was 6.9 percent. This is the “most intense” surge since the beginning of the pandemic, Newsom said.

Over the last week, California has reported an average of 163 deaths a day from COVID-19, four times the daily average a month ago. To handle the increase in deaths, the state recently bought 5,000 body bags to deliver to Inyo, San Diego, and Los Angeles counties, where there are fewer than 100 intensive care unit beds available for the county’s 10 million residents. Statewide, ICU capacity is at 5.7 percent.

There are 60 53-foot refrigerated storage units on standby across California, should hospitals and counties need extra room outside of morgues for bodies. “This is a deadly disease and we need to be mindful of where we are,” Newsom said. “We are not at the finish line yet.” A health-care worker in Los Angeles County was the first person to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the state on Monday, and officials said by Wednesday, 33 hospitals in California should have doses of the vaccine. Catherine Garcia

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