Gov. Newsom updates on COVID-19, oxygen support to LA, vaccine rollout

Gov. Newsom gave an update on coronavirus, providing oxygen and the vaccine rollout in his first address of the new year.

Newsom says there are more than 29,000 cases of COVID-19 in California today, with 97 new deaths today. There are more than 2.4 million cases and more than 26,600 deaths in the state so far.

“This is a deadly disease. This is a deadly pandemic. It remains more deadly today than at any point in the history of this pandemic,” he says.

The Southern California region and San Joaquin Valley are both at 0 percent ICU capacity, while the Bay Area has a 7.9 percent ICU capacity.

Newsom said technical assistance teams have been deployed to help with decompression, space, equipment, supplies and oxygen to Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Joaquin.

Newsom said there is a statewide oxygen strategy in place.

“Because of the strain, stress down in Los Angeles, in particular, we have organized a statewide oxygen strategy. We actually have a task force on oxygen,” Newsom said, adding there is the creation of a state oxygen team as well as bulk oxygen support.

Newsom said the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers have been deployed to seven facilities: five facilities to Los Angeles and two facilities in San Bernardino County.

Last week, Newsom announced the COVID-19 variant, originally found in the UK and then in Colorado, has been detected in Southern California. Also last week, Supervisor Janice Han asked the governor to bring Army National Guard medical personnel and the U.S.N.S. Mercy hospital ship to LA County.


Vaccinations have begun in California after initial vaccinations were being given out to healthcare workers and residents at nursing facilities in Phase 1A of the rollout. Newsom also updated the public on the vaccine adding California is aggressively working to accelerate the pace of the vaccine administration including dentists administering the vaccine, pharmacy techs at places like CVS and Walgreens, National Guard, and clinic and doctor partnerships.

“The state has in its possession about 1.29 million doses, and we have about 611,000 (doses) that are going to be shipped,” Newsom said adding 454,306 doses have been administered as of Jan. 3. He said the second doses will be arriving this week.

He said currently the state is in phase 1A which includes healthcare workers and long-term care residents, and up next is Phase 1B.

Phase 1B includes multiple tiers, Newsom said, such as Phase 1B Tier One that is for 75 years of age and above and workers in education, childcare, emergency services, food and agriculture.

Phase 1B Tier Two is 65 years of age and above, transportation, industrial, commercial facilities, homeless, incarcerated, and Phase 1C will be age 50 years of age and above, 16 to 64 with underlying medical conditions and/or disability, water and waste management, defense, energy and more.

California rolled out the Pfizer vaccine initially and recently began to roll out the Moderna vaccine in SoCal last month.

Meanwhile, a team of California National Guardsmen is set to land in SoCal Monday to help overwhelmed private mortuaries and hospital morgues handle the crush of coronavirus deaths in Los Angeles County. The California National Guardsman will help the LA County Medical Examiner-Coroner process the deaths.