California hits new 1-day COVID-19 death record as hospitals prepare to ration care

Local news

California broke the single-day record for COVID-19 deaths yet again Tuesday, logging 442 fatalities in a Times county-by-county tally of local health jurisdictions — a number equivalent to someone dying of the disease every three minutes.

More than half of those deaths — 242 — were of Los Angeles County residents, according to The Times’ survey. That’s a record high in a single day for the nation’s most populous county, a count boosted in part by a backlog of reports from the Christmas weekend.

At that rate, cumulative COVID-19 deaths will likely exceed 25,000 in California on Wednesday and 10,000 in L.A. County by New Year’s Day. As of Tuesday night, California had a cumulative 24,987 deaths and L.A. County, 9,806. Over the past week, the state averaged 240 deaths a day, and L.A. County, 111.

The climbing death toll has changed daily life throughout Los Angeles. In East L.A., the Continental Funeral Home has seen its typical caseload more than quadruple, with 80% of its services honoring people who died from COVID-19. The L.A. County College of Nursing and Allied Health is postponing the admission of nursing students for the spring semester because faculty and staff have been redeployed to county hospitals.

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