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California sets new records for COVID-19 deaths, cases

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Posted at 1:01 PM, Dec 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-16 16:10:32-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A day after California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered thousands more body bags for distribution to morgues in three counties, including San Diego, state health authorities reported a new high for coronavirus-related deaths and cases.

California recorded 53,711 new COVID-19 cases and 293 additional deaths on Wednesday. The state's previous high for deaths was set Saturday with 225.

On Tuesday, Newsom ordered 5,000 body bags during a surge in deaths over the past week, averaging over 160 per day.

"This is a deadly disease, a deadly pandemic, and we're in the middle of it right now," Newsom said Tuesday. "We're near the end, but we're in the middle of the most acute peak as it relates to what we refer to as the third wave -- the third and what we hope is the final wave of this disease."

Newsom also said that 60 refrigerated storage units are ready to be mobilized across California should hospitals become overwhelmed with virus fatalities.

"We just had to order 5,000 additional body bags ... and we just distributed them down to San Diego, Los Angeles, Inyo counties," he said. "That should be sobering. I don't want ... to scare folks, but this is a deadly disease. And we need to be mindful of where we are in this current journey together to the vaccine. We are not at the finish line yet."

As of Wednesday, state officials report 1,671,081 total cases and 21,481 total deaths across California.