California hits record 585 COVID-19 deaths in 1 day as infections rage out of control

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- California started the new year by reporting a record 585 coronavirus deaths in a single day.

The state Department of Public Health said Friday there were more than than 47,000 new confirmed cases reported, bringing the total to more than 2.29 million.

Hospitals in the state ended the year on "the brink of catastrophe," a health official said as the pandemic pushed deaths and sickness to staggering levels and some medical centers scrambled to provide oxygen for the critically ill.

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While some education experts argue that schools are safer than being out in the community, others are saying Gov. Newsom's reopening plan may not be doable, especially for larger districts.



Gov. Gavin Newsom's office announced Friday that California would begin collaborating with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to evaluate and upgrade outdated oxygen delivery systems at six Los Angeles area hospitals.

The collaboration comes as older hospitals are having difficulty maintaining oxygen pressure in aging infrastructure and some were scrambling to locate additional oxygen tanks for discharged patients to take home.
California this week became the third state to exceed 25,000 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Southern California's ICU bed capacity still remains at 0%.

"In ICU, we are out of our capacity. We're creating spaces from nowhere," said Olena Svetlov, MSN, RN at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

The rest of the state is not faring much better. The San Joaquin Valley is also at 0% ICU availability. The Bay Area is down to 6% and Sacramento is at 11%.


Los Angeles County reported more than 20,000 new cases Friday, and over 200 deaths.

L.A. County officials reported a death every 10 minutes, begging people on social media to stay home and stay safe.

But many ignored those pleas on New Year's Eve, with a number of public gatherings held across Southern California.

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A number of public gatherings took place across Southern California on New Year's Eve, including another maskless event hosted by actor Kirk Cameron and a large outdoor concert in Valencia with hundreds in attendance.



On Friday, the L.A. County sheriff's department announced their "super-spreader" task force, making 90 arrests at five separate locations last night.

Actor Kirk Cameron hosted another maskless gathering on Thursday, with groups of people seen on the beach at Point Mugu for a faith-based event.

It was a similar scene over in Valencia, where hundreds packed a parking lot to ring in the new year. Few who attended the outdoor concert, hosted by Christian activist Sean Feucht, at Higher Vision Church wore masks or physically distanced.

Car enthusiasts gathered in Pasadena for their annual New Year's Eve Rose Parade cruise, even though the world-famous show had been canceled.


"It is hard not to make those correlation between those holidays and the spike that we see shortly after them," said Shane Reichardt with the Riverside County Office of Emergency Management Department.

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed U.S. coronavirus cases surpassed 20 million on Friday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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The number of confirmed U.S. coronavirus cases has surpassed 20 million, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.



That's nearly twice as many as the No. 2 country, India, and nearly one-quarter of the more than 83 million cases globally.

The U.S. continued to surpass other countries in COVID-19 cases as it reached 20 million at the start of the new year, according to data kept by Johns Hopkins University.

COVID-19 deaths have also increased in the country, now totaling more than 346,000.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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