California virus deaths top 7,000 as case numbers climb too
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A heat wave brought crowds to California’s beaches, where people mostly heeded warnings to keep a safe distance from each other as the state grappled with a spike in coronavirus infections and hospitalizations.
“It’s a busy day at the beach, but people are spread out, for the most part,” said Chief Jason Young with Orange County Lifeguards.
Temperatures soared into the 90s (above 33 Celsius) in many areas from San Diego north to the San Francisco Bay Area. The rural community of Paicines inland from Monterey recorded a high of 102 (39 Celsius), the National Weather Service said.
Young said lifeguards were educating the public on guidelines to stay about 6 feet (1.8 meters) apart to help curb the spread of the virus.
In Santa Monica, Mercedes Benns said she was relieved to see the majority of people wearing masks in the beachside city. Benns and her family were visiting from Dallas and decided to take a dip in the ocean as temperatures climbed on Sunday.
“People are keeping away from each other as best they can,” Benns said. “Everyone’s being respectful.”
For most people, COVID-19 causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
In other news related to the coronavirus outbreak in California:
— The statewide death toll increased by 71 to hit 7,107, the California Department of Public Health reported Sunday. Daily death totals have begun to increase after a month of spiking cases and hospitalizations. There were more than 320,800 positive cases statewide.
— Two more inmates from San Quentin State Prison died Saturday at outside hospitals from complications related to COVID-19, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. San Quentin has 1,485 inmates who are actively positive for the virus, officials said.
— In Contra Costa County, officials issued a health order over the weekend that will prohibit indoor religious services beginning Monday morning. Outdoor gatherings, including worship services and political protests, will still be allowed as long as masks are worn and physical distancing rules are followed. Officials said in a statement that more than 8% of its COVID-19 tests are now coming back positive over the previous seven days, “a sign that the virus is spreading rapidly in the county.”