Rate of new virus infections falling, but deaths remain high


Nevada Union High School’s West Gymnasium serves as the location for the administering of 1,004 vaccines to school personnel during a three day period this week, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Grass Valley, Calif. (Elias Funez/The Union via AP)

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — California has reported another 481 coronavirus deaths, a day after the statewide death toll topped 40,000 even as the rates of new infections and hospitalizations continue to fall.

The state said Sunday that the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 slipped below 14,850 — a drop of more than 25% in two weeks. The 18,974 new cases are about one-third the mid-December peak of 54,000.

San Diego County is also seeing a drop in hospitalizations related to the virus. The number of people in local hospitals with the virus declined to 1,375 on Friday, according to county public health officials.

A record number of patients in intensive care units was set on Jan. 20 with 438, but has declined slowly since. There were 389 COVID-19 patients reported in ICU beds on Friday, with 40 staffed beds available.

The county’s cumulative COVID-19 case total is now 236,768 and the death toll is 2,603.

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