California trying to speed up COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Gov. Gavin Newsom says

As another California region reaches near-zero remaining ICU capacity, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state is taking an "all hands on deck" approach to administering the COVID-19 vaccine.

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Many have expressed frustration at the state's slow rollout of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. While 2,466,125 doses have been shipped to California, only 783,476 have been administered (as of Sunday).

Newsom said the state is working to get 1 million doses administered by the weekend.

To help meet that goal, and speed up vaccination generally, Newsom wants to expand the list of eligible vaccinators to include pharmacists, dentists, and 15 national guard strike teams.

We noticed nursing students weren't on the list.

"We've been in touch with the California Board of Registered Nursing with hopes 30,000 nursing students who are trained and certified to help administer vaccines could help aid the backlog. Would you consider that?" reporter Stephanie Sierra asked.

"Yeah, in fact enthusiastically so," Newsom said. "Our fire agencies and our nursing schools will be essential and critical."

California also wants to open large-scale vaccination sites. The governor said vaccination sites at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Petco Park in San Diego and Cal Expo in Sacramento should be opening up by the end of the week. He said "many, many more" large sites would follow these three.

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In recent weeks, the state's vaccine advisory committee has been discussing who is included in Phases 1A, 1B and 1C of the vaccine rollout. Those categories have been finalized, Newsom said.

Moving beyond Phase 1C is going to require more help from the federal government.

"We are obviously going to need substantially more doses to get into this next phase, and we hope to learn more with the new administration soon," Newsom said. "They intend to release a lot of the stockpile of doses and we'll start to see a greater clarity ... so that we can deal with the anxiety that I know is palpable."

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The Bay Area region's intensive care units are nearly full, the governor announced Monday.

The latest ICU capacity numbers from around the state are:
  • Northern California: 35%
  • Bay Area: 0.7%
  • Greater Sacramento: 9.7%
  • San Joaquin Valley: 0%
  • Southern California: 0%

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Every region currently under the new restrictions seems far from rebounding. A region's remaining ICU capacity must rise above 15% to exit the order.

California recorded an additional 39,839 cases over the past 24 hours and an additional 264 deaths, the state said Monday.

We'll update this story as we listen in to Gov. Newsom's press conference. Check back for updates.
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