San Bernardino County set to receive more than 15,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine next week

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- As San Bernardino County continues to report high numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the county is preparing to receive its first shipment of vaccines next week.

County officials say they are expecting more than 15,000 doses of the Pfizer's vaccine by Tuesday and weekly shipments following that.

Health care workers who are in direct contact with COVID-19 patients will be among the first to receive the vaccination. They'll get the second shot 21 days after receiving the first dose.

Pfizer's vaccine needs to be kept at minus 85 degrees Celsius. The county says it has the ultra cold freezer capacity to handle 1 million doses of the vaccine.

This comes as San Bernardino County on Friday reported more than 3,300 new coronavirus cases.

IE hospital overwhelmed by COVID surge forced to treat patients in parking lot tents
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With many intensive care units already at maximum capacity in the Inland Empire, doctors are warning that an increase in cases after Christmas and New Year's could be catastrophic.

"In our July surge, we were seeing about 1,000 new cases per day. Right after Thanksgiving we jumped up to nearly 3,000 cases per day and that started this week. So we're just now seeing the effects from the Thanksgiving day holiday," said county Public Health Director Corwin Porter.

Doctors at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton say the ICU is full and that they're drowning in COVID-19 patients.

They're converting conference rooms to hospital rooms to handle more patients and have tents set up in the parking lot as a precaution.

"We're drowning in COVID patients right now. We're literally kind of up to our neck, our heads above water and we're still breathing but our big concern is that if we can't get people to do better during the upcoming holidays... we literally could go under," said Dr. Troy Pennington, an ER physician at the facility.
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