California Reporting 525 COVID-Related Deaths Every Day

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — More Californians than ever are dying from the coronavirus — a knee-bucking 525 every day — and with the number expected to keep climbing state officials said Friday they are sending more refrigerated trailers to act as makeshift morgues for overwhelmed county coroner’s offices. There are now 98 of the trailers to help county coroners store bodies “with respect and dignity,” Office of Emergency Services Director Mark Ghilarducci said. In Los Angeles County, where on average a person dies every 6 minutes, temporary storage facilities have been set up in the parking lot adjacent to the coroner’s office. The Office of Emergency Services is using state hospitalization data to anticipate how many people may die in coming weeks. The state analyzes multiple models to try to predict hospitalizations and deaths. The “ensemble” projection that combines all the models is estimating another 10,000 people will die in the next three weeks. It could be at least two weeks before the state knows the full extent of the virus’ damage during the holiday season when many people ignored pleas to stay home and…

California Leaders Push Vaccinations Despite Limited Supply

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s governor and the mayor of Los Angeles triumphantly touted Dodger Stadium on Friday as a new mass coronavirus vaccination site capable of administering 12,000 shots a day, despite acknowledging they had no idea how many vaccines the state can expect to get from the federal government. “As soon as we know, we’ll be able to communicate that more fully to members of the public,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a news conference at the stadium, following contentions by governors that the Trump administration is walking back supply promises. Newsom said he and other governors were told earlier this week that a reserve supply of 50 million doses would be distributed. California has been given 3 million doses so far and was anticipating hundreds of thousands more but is now working to confirm those doses are available. Michael Pratt, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said there has been no reduction in doses shipped to states. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said earlier this week that the state was expanding its vaccine eligibility to include people over…

Public Barred From California Senate After Threats Surface

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California state Senate closed its session to the public on Friday, a day after two women in attendance made threats against lawmakers, while law enforcement in Sacramento and other state cities girded for possible violence in advance of next week’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. The women who shouted the threats were opposed to mass coronavirus inoculations, not the imminent departure of President Donald Trump, but still spurred Senate leader Toni Atkins to block public access to the Senate gallery. Members of the public were sent to a committee room to observe the Senate proceedings remotely. Atkins said the Senate’s lawyers signed off on the restriction. “We are continuing to evaluate the situation and are working on getting additional information, and will do everything we can to keep members, staff, and the public who visit the Capitol, safe,” Atkins said in a statement. The Assembly did not say if it had taken similar precautions. The Capitol remains closed to the public because of the coronavirus, except for limited access during legislative hearings, and most employees have been working remotely. Atkins…

California COVID-19 Benefits Fraud Could Reach $9.8 Billion — Over Double The Original Estimates

LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — California may have paid out nearly $10 billion in phony coronavirus unemployment claims — more than double the previous estimate — with some of that money going to organized crime in Russia, China, and other countries, according to a security firm hired to investigate the fraud. At least 10% of claims submitted to the state Employment Development Department before controls were installed in October may have been fraudulent, Blake Hall, founder and CEO of ID.me told the Los Angeles Times. The Times on Friday said that would work out to $98.8 billion of the benefits paid from March through September. Last year, CBS13 obtained Employment Development Department data that revealed just how widespread the EDD unemployment fraud may be. The data included more than 30,000 addresses that appeared to have been used to apply for EDD benefits for 10 or more different people — in some cases more than 1,000 people — at each address. The money went to people who lost their jobs when the state began locking down businesses in an effort to curb the COVID-19 pandemic that currently…

Stockton Police Investigate Homicide

STOCKTON – Police investigated a homicide Thursday evening after a man arrived at a hospital with gunshot wounds. Authorities said at around 5:36 pm officers responded to the area of Seventh Street and Nightingale Avenue after a report of gunshots fired. Arriving officers were able to locate a crime scene. It was the discovered that a 28-year-old shooting victim was privately transported from the area and arrived at an area hospital. Police said the victim later died at the hospital and at the time of publication there was no motive or suspect information available. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Stockton Police non-emergency number at (209) 937-8377 or the Investigations Division at (209) 937-8323. Callers who wish to remain anonymous may contact Crime Stoppers at (209) 946-0600.

Ceres Shooting Case Becomes Homicide

CERES – A double shooting from Monday is now being investigated as a homicide after one victim died from his injuries. The shooting happened on Malik Avenue near Strawberry Fields Park shortly before 9:00pm Monday. At the time of the shooting, an official at the scene said one victim was struck in the elbow, the other victim was in surgery. Ceres Police says investigators were notified January 15th that one of the shooting victims identified as 18-year-old Miguel Peña from Ceres died from his injuries. Police said investigators are following up on several leads but ask that anyone living in the area who may have surveillance video from that day to contact Detective Jon Vera at (209) 538-5730. No suspect information was released at the time of publication but anyone with information is encouraged to contact Officer Brian Petersen at (209) 538-5627. If callers wish to remain anonymous they can contact Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 or 1-866-602-7463.

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