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California Governor Gavin Newsom said the state would be stepping up its coronavirus vaccination efforts this week, opening mass vaccination sites at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Petco Park in San Diego and Cal Expo in Sacramento. The move announced in a Monday briefing comes as the state reported a record number of deaths from COVID-19 over the weekend. 

The state saw 1,163 deaths in a two-day period this weekend, and revealed in the briefing there were an additional 264 deaths on Monday and 22,633 people were hospitalized. The state saw nearly 40,000 new cases Monday.

The numbers are “just a sober reminder of the deadliness of the disease, how deadly this pandemic remains,” Newsom said.

The state, which has struggled to cope with the increase in cases, is still pressed to care for COVID-19 patients who need intensive care. 

“Both the hospitals and the ICUs experiencing a rate of increase that is more modest than what we have seen over the course of the last many, many weeks, for that matter, many, many months,” he said.

Several regions have zero intensive care capacity, though Northern California has 35% capacity.

“Southern California, San Joaquin Valley continue to be the hot spots for the state,” he said, along with San Bernardino, the Bay Area and the Riverside and Los Angeles area. 

Newsom said the state’s goal was to vaccinate 1 million more people by the weekend. The state wants to expand the types of health care professionals who can give vaccinations to include dentists, pharmacy technicians and National Guard teams.

NEW: CA will be opening mass vaccination sites this week including Dodgers Stadium, Padres Stadium, and CalExpo.Our goal continues to be fast, equitable, and safe vaccinations statewide.

— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) January 11, 2021

The uptick has slammed hospitals, which are struggling to care for COVID-19 patients amid concerns among health care workers about rationing care. The new, reportedly more infectious variant of the virus first documented in the U.K. has been confirmed in the state.

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CBS Los Angeles reported 1,000 people in Los Angeles County died from the virus in a four-day period, and military personnel have arrived in the area to assist in the wake of a surge that has resulted in a record number of cases. The county surpassed 900,000 cases and 12,000 deaths, officials said Saturday. In Orange County, there were 3,121 new cases of COVID-19 and 50 additional deaths, health officials reported Sunday, bringing the county’s totals to 188,602 cases and 2,092 fatalities.

As of Monday, the state has more than 2.7 million reported cases of coronavirus and nearly 30,000 people have died since the beginning of the pandemic.

Newsom also shared some news from the San Diego Zoo, which said two gorillas had been affected.

“We have two gorillas at the San Diego Zoo that have tested positive for Covid-19, two that have been tested positive and we have another that is symptomatic,” he said, though officials were working to confirm the strain and if the cases were a result of human-to-animal transmission.

“It’s an area that’s long been of concern, human-to-animal transmission,” he said, “but our beloved gorillas we are concerned about.”

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