California projected to run out of ICU beds by Dec. 24 if COVID-19 trends continue, governor warns

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LOS ANGELES (NewsNation Now) — State officials are projecting that California will run out of ICU beds before Christmas Eve, Gov. Gavin Newsom warned Monday.

In Southern California, about 74% of ICU beds are currently occupied. If trends continue, occupancy in the region will increase to 107%, authorities predict.

Health officials are preparing for a wave of virus cases over the next two or three weeks that could be linked to Thanksgiving gatherings. Authorities had urged residents to stay home and limit their interactions with others, but millions nationwide defied the advice.

California has had nearly 1.2 million confirmed cases since the pandemic began, with 19,121 virus-related deaths.

The state reported 7,415 coronavirus hospitalizations on Sunday, citing the most recently available data from the previous day. More than 1,700 of those patients are in intensive care units. The number of hospitalizations broke the state’s previous record of 7,170 in July.

California county officials statewide issued new restrictions, with many taking effect Monday, in an effort to avoid overwhelming hospitals.

Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous, imposed new rules calling for its 10 million residents to stay home “as much as possible,” prohibiting them from gathering with people outside of their households for public or private occasions — except for faith-based services and protests.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has estimated that the county’s COVID-19 death toll could reach over 11,500 by the end of the year — meaning that more than 4,000 residents could die in over the next five weeks, the Los Angeles Times reported. A record number of people in the county were infected last week.

In Northern California, Santa Clara County — home to Silicon Valley — banned all high school, collegiate, and professional sports and imposed a quarantine for people traveling to the region from areas more than 150 miles away.

San Francisco and San Mateo counties moved to the most restrictive purple tier in the state’s pandemic blueprint for the economy, forcing most indoor activities to close by noon Sunday and placing the residents under curfew starting Monday night.

In San Francisco’s famous Golden Gate Park, the new 150-foot Ferris wheel named SkyStar closed Sunday under the new tier’s restrictions.

The wheel was supposed to be the centerpiece of the park’s 150th anniversary being celebrated all year and was only approved to open in late October. No reopening date has been announced.

NewsNation affiliate KTLA and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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