Speed Reads

california in crisis

Los Angeles paramedics told to conserve oxygen as 1 in 5 people test positive for coronavirus

The COVID-19 pandemic is worse than ever before in California.

The state logged a record 74,000 new coronavirus cases on Monday, and hospitals around the state are bursting at the seams trying to accommodate the surge. In Los Angeles, things are so bad that the county's Emergency Medical Services Agency told ambulance crews Monday to conserve oxygen and even to not bring patients with slim chances of survival to hospitals, reports CNN.

California first saw a massive COVID-19 surge over the summer. But the uptick in recent weeks has pushed average weekly case counts to four times what they were months ago; the previous record of 66,726 new cases on Dec. 28 was squashed Monday, and holiday gatherings will likely only lead to an even bigger wave. California also recorded its highest average daily death count last week, with an average of 353 people dying of the virus each day, the Los Angeles Times reports. In Los Angeles, one in every five people tested for coronavirus came back with positive results on Monday — an almost unheard of positivity rate.

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Monday unveiled a state oxygen team, headed in part by the Army Corps of Engineers, to ramp up the oxygen supply. Still, critics wonder why this didn't happen months ago, before a winter coronavirus experts predicted would happen. Meanwhile Newsom said Monday that the state has only distributed 35 percent of its COVID-19 vaccines. He promised funding and swift action to combat the "challenge," but didn't share any concrete plans to do so.