A roundup of the biggest news stories in California this week, including a coronavirus update and the latest from Sacramento….
These are the California Republicans Who Voted to Reject Biden’s Election Win
Following the violent attacks of a pro-Trump mob at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, seven California Republicans voted to reject election results confirming President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over President Trump. Among them was the party’s House leader Kevin McCarthy. Joining McCarthy were Republican Reps. Doug LaMalfa of Richvale in Butte County, Jay Obernolte of Big Bear Lake in San Bernardino County, Devin Nunes of Tulare in the San Joaquin Valley, Ken Calvert of Corona in Riverside County, Mike Garcia of Santa Clarita in Los Angeles County, and Darrell Issa of Vista in San Diego County.
(Source: San Francisco Chronicle)
Rep. David Valadao is the Only California Republican Who Voted to Impeach Trump
Rep. David Valadao, who represents California’s 21st district, was one of 10 House Republications who voted on Wednesday to impeach President Trump. He is the only Congressmember from California to vote in favor of impeachment.
Valadao held the congressional seat representing Kings County and parts of Fresno, Kern and Tulare counties from 2013 to 2019, and in 2020 defeated incumbent Rep. TJ Cox to reclaim the seat. A vote to impeach Trump for inciting an insurrection was Valadao’s first official action as a member of the House after he assumed office on January 12.
Seniors 65+ Will Be Next to Receive Covid-19 Vaccine
The state is prioritizing individuals aged 65 and older to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. As demand subsides among health care workers, older adults will be able to receive the vaccine in a measure to increase the rate of distribution to those at greatest risk. Health care workers and long-term care residents in Phase 1A remain first in line.
“With our hospitals crowded and ICUs full, we need to focus on vaccinating Californians who are at highest risk of becoming hospitalized to alleviate stress on our health care facilities,” said Dr. Tomás Aragón, Director of the California Department of Public Health and State Public Health Officer. “Prioritizing individuals age 65 and older will reduce hospitalizations and save lives.”
Governor Newsom also announced a new system allowing Californians to register for a notification when they are eligible to receive a vaccine. The system will include the option to schedule a vaccination appointment at an upcoming mass vaccination event. The public can also receive the vaccine at another location such as a pharmacy or doctor’s office, when available. The system is expected to launch next week.
Visit https://covid19.ca.gov/vaccines/ for more information.
State Senators Call for Assessment of Domestic Terrorism Treat by White Nationalist Militia Groups
State Senators Henry Stern (D-Los Angeles) and Tom Umberg (D-Orange County) announced plans this week to introduce legislation that would require both the Attorney General and the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) to create units focusing on domestic terrorism.
“Let’s be very clear. What happened last week wasn’t Antifa. It was effectively sponsored by a President and his loyalists in local, state and federal office who have been encouraging and supporting the white nationalist movement, helping it get bigger and stronger to try and normalize the types of atrocious activities we witnessed in Washington,” said Senator Henry Stern. “We have to respond not just with blustery condemnation, but with a concrete answer to this threat to domestic security.”
This legislation, which is still being drafted, will be introduced in the coming weeks.
Gorillas at San Diego Zoo Safari Park Test Positive for Covid-19
Members of the Gorilla troop at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park have tested positive for Covid-19. Two of the gorillas began coughing on Wednesday, January 6. Preliminary tests detected the presence of the virus, which was confirmed on Monday.
“Aside from some congestion and coughing, the gorillas are doing well,” said Lisa Peterson, executive director, San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “The troop remains quarantined together and are eating and drinking. We are hopeful for a full recovery.”
It is suspected the gorillas acquired the infection from an asymptomatic staff member. This is the first known instance of natural transmission to great apes and it is unknown if they will have any serious reaction. The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has been closed to the public since December 6.
Los Angeles County Reports Nearly 2,000 Covid-19 Deaths in One Week
Los Angeles County has experienced nearly 2,000 Covid-19 deaths in just a week, and marked another grim milestone of recording more than 13,000 total Covid-19 deaths. The county expects to reach the milestone of 1 million cases this weekend.
“To the families and friends of the more than 13,000 L.A. County residents who have passed away from Covid-19, we send our deepest sympathies,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “When we ask our residents to stay home and follow the rules and businesses to follow the Health Officer Orders, it is to stop the loss of life from Covid-19. This disease is running rampant right now, and we continue to plead with residents, businesses and government, the community to do all possible to stop the spread.”
The California Department of Public Health has released data confirming that California has 2,859,624 confirmed cases of Covid-19 to date. There were 42,655 newly confirmed cases confirmed on Thursday. The seven-day positivity rate is 12.0% and the 14-day positivity rate is 12.9% – both slightly lower than last week. Since the start of the pandemic, 32,291 Californians have died due to Covid-19.
ICU capacity remains at 0.0% in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley. The Greater Sacramento region exited the regional stay at home order on Tuesday based on ICU projection data; its current capacity is 6.2%. The Bay Area reports 3.4% ICU capacity. Northern California remains free of the regional stay at home order with an ICU capacity of 24.0%.