In the past 24 hours, 12,604 people have tested positive for COVID-19.
“We haven’t seen a number like this in quite some time,” California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said.
Yet transmission remains fairly high in most California communities.
“The chance of a new outbreak in California is real. It is still circulating in our communities,” Ghaly said. “Our case rates are down, but not low.”
All but four California counties are in the most restrictive purple level. Only two counties have made enough progress to change reopening levels: Alpine and Trinity, both from red to orange.
MAP: CA counties that can, cannot reopen under new rules
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Even though we appear to be coming to the end of the winter wave, several variants of the coronavirus are of concern, such as the ‘British variant’ identified in Southern California and the widely identified ‘West Coast variant’ in Santa County. Clara. The so-called British variant is known to be more contagious and it is too early to say if the same is true for the west coast variant.
The West Coast variant mutations are similar to the British variant, and therefore “could definitely have a bit more contagiousness,” Ghaly said. However, more research is needed.
Wider vaccination is another key to curbing the spread of COVID-19. Frustrations have been mounting for weeks as eligible seniors struggle to get an appointment for a vaccine and providers say they aren’t getting enough doses to meet demand.
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There have been 3,523,111 doses administered in California as of February 1, Ghaly said.
He said the state is “starting to step up” its vaccination rate, but did not give details on how California plans to address the issue of limited vaccine supply.
Finally, Ghaly warned not to allow Super Bowl Sunday or Lunar New Year events to push us back into the bending of the curve.
“Don’t want the Super Bowl to become the next start of a huge wave here in California. Celebrate the game, watch it with your family, and if you’re with people – like another household in the backyard watching it. – keep your distance, wear your mask, try to share as little as possible – except the game cheers when appropriate.
“So, like I told you, don’t fumble, we’re almost there.”
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