California is seeing a glimmer of hope in its coronavirus crisis as the state lifted a stay-at-home order for 13 northern counties where hospital conditions have improved and Disneyland in Orange County has become a massive vaccination site with 10,000 people signing up for appointments so far.
The state’s deadly surge is showing signs of leveling off after besieging hospitals, morgues and ambulance services for weeks.
The number of newly hospitalized COVID patients statewide declined to 2,500 admissions every 24 hours over the past two days from a previous daily average of about 3,500, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said in an online briefing with reporters.
Ghaly called it ‘the biggest signal to me that things are beginning to flatten and potentially improve.’
The improving hospitalization numbers led the state to lift the stay-at-home order for the Sacramento region on Tuesday, freeing it from rules imposed on December 10 banning gatherings outside a household and restricting businesses.
The New Magic Kingdom! Lines of cars and socially distanced crowds arrived at Disneyland’s Toy Story parking lot Wednesday for opening day of Orange County’s first mass-vaccination site
Happiest place on Earth! A view of a long line of people waiting to get vaccinated at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on Wednesday above
Mass vaccination sites are being opened at Disneyland in Orange County, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and the Cal Expo in Sacramento. A view of people in line for the shot in the parking lot for Disneyland on Wednesday in Anaheim, California. Orange County is the first county to allow anyone age 65 and older to get the vaccine
The crisis wears on: Clinical Nurse Zachary Petterson tends to a COVID-19 patient in the intensive care unit at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center during the coronavirus pandemic in San Jose, California on Wednesday
The state has reported more than 2.7million COVID-19 cases and more than 31,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic
The region can reopen for outdoor dining, worship services, hair and nail salons, and increase capacity in stores. Gatherings with up to three households are allowed.
Currently three of the five state regions are under the order because their hospital intensive care capacity is under 15 percent. Those regions are: San Francisco Bay Area, the San Joaquin Valley, and Southern California.
Ghaly also cited other promising trends including a decrease in confirmed daily case numbers.
A total of 36,487 new cases were reported Tuesday, down from a seven-day average of about 42,000 cases every 24 hours – and a leveling off in the rate of diagnostic tests coming back positive, stabilizing at 13.5 percent after weeks of a steep upward climb.
He also pointed to a reduced rate in the uptick of the number of COVID patients in hospitals, standing at 21,747 on Tuesday, up 5.5 percent over the past two weeks. He said that marked lowest rate of increase since late October, when California last saw a week-on-week decline in hospitalized COVID patients.
The state has reported more than 2.7million COVID-19 cases and more than 31,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
People receive temperature checks while waiting in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination site in a parking lot for Disneyland on Wednesday
Got the shot! A view of California locals leaving the Disneyland testing site after receiving the vacine on Wednesday
There have been issues with landing appointments at the Disneyland vaccination site on its registration app Othena. According to officials about 10,000 people registered overnight to schedule an appointment
Worth the wait: A view of people waiting in line, including one man who brought a foldable chair, at the Disneyland testing site on Wednesday in Anaheim, California above
Ghaly warned that the post-holiday surge hasn’t peaked yet.
‘Earlier this year, we had a significant number of big-case days, and those cases will … continue to be admitted into our hospitals in the days to come, so we continue to look at the data,’ he said.
Gov. Gavin Newsom set a goal last week to deliver one million doses by Friday in the state of nearly 40million people. Newsom last week said only about 1 percent of California’s residents have been inoculated.
Mass vaccination sites are being opened at Disneyland in Orange County, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and the Cal Expo in Sacramento, Disneyland being the first to open.
Lines of cars and socially distanced crowds arrived at Disneyland’s Toy Story parking lot on Wednesday for opening day of Orange County’s first mass-vaccination site, giving new meaning to the company’s motto ‘Happiest Place on Earth’.
However, there have been issues with landing appointments at the Disneyland vaccination site on its registration app Othena. According to officials about 10,000 people registered overnight to schedule an appointment.
The site has the capacity to inoculate thousands of people a day.
So far Orange County has received more than 170,000 vaccines and intends to open five mass-vaccination sites after Disneyland.
A healthcare 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, California on Wednesday
On Wednesday the state announced it’ll allow everyone 65 and older to receive the vaccine in the next tier after previously stating it would apply to people 75 and older, in accordance with an updated federal government advisory
California is focusing on vaccinating health care workers, nursing home residents first and people at risk of getting the virus at work, teachers and agriculture workers will get the shot in the next tier.
On Wednesday the state announced it’ll allow everyone 65 and older to receive the vaccine after previously stating it would apply to people 75 and older. The announcement is in accordance with an updated federal government advisory.
‘There is no higher priority than efficiently and equitably distributing these vaccines as quickly as possible to those who face the gravest consequences,’ Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. ‘Individuals 65 and older are now the next group eligible to start receiving vaccines.’
Orange County was the first region to expand the vaccine to older residents following the CDC’s announcement.
On the other hand, Los Angeles County’s health director said the county won’t immediately vaccinate those 65 and older because there are hundreds of thousands of health care workers that are yet to be vaccinated.
The state also announced Wednesday it’ll launch a new system to let people know if they’re eligible to receive a vaccine or sign up to be notified when they are.