COVID-19 deaths hit record high in California


A COVID-19 patient, placed on a ventilator, rests at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif. Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. California health authorities reported Thursday a record two-day total of 1,042 coronavirus deaths as many hospitals strain under unprecedented caseloads. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

LOS ANGELES (AP/KDVR) — California health authorities reported a record high of 695 coronavirus deaths on Saturday while many hospitals are strained under unprecedented caseloads.

According to the state Department of Public Health, the record number raises the state’s death toll since the start of the pandemic to 29,233.

A surge of cases following Halloween and Thanksgiving produced record hospitalizations, and now the most seriously ill of those patients are dying in unseen numbers.

Already, many hospitals in Los Angeles and other hard-hit areas are struggling to keep up and warned they may need to ration care as intensive care beds dwindle.

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