In Sonoma County in California’s wine country, a Native American casino announced it was canceling a planned private New Year’s Eve indoor event that could have drawn as many as 4,000 people. The Graton Resort and Casino is on sovereign native land that isn’t subject to state or county health orders but it had come under scrutiny for the event.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said hospitals are under “unprecedented pressure” and if current trends continue the number of those hospitalized because of the virus could double in 30 days.
“We could have a surge on top of surge on top of a surge in January and February,” Newsom said in a social media video posting Thursday. “I fear that but we’re not victims to that if we change our behaviors.”
Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths have mounted exponentially in recent weeks and are breaking new records. On Christmas Eve, California became the first state in the nation to exceed 2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases.
The first coronavirus case in California was confirmed Jan. 25. It took 292 days to get to 1 million infections on Nov. 11. Just 44 days later, the number topped 2 million.
The crisis is straining the state’s medical system well beyond its normal capacity, prompting hospitals to treat patients in tents, offices and auditoriums.
Hospitals have also hired extra staff and canceled elective surgeries — all to boost capacity before the cases contracted over Christmas and New Year’s show up in the next few weeks.
“We understand that people are tired, but public health measures are not the enemy — they are the roadmap for a faster and more sustainable recovery,” said a statement from the Public Health Alliance of Southern California, which includes 10 neighboring local health departments covering nearly 60% of the state’s population.