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COVID Death Toll Tops 50,000 In California, New School Plan

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Sacramento, CA — California’s coronavirus death toll has topped 50,000 as the governor continues his quest to reopen schools in the state.

That sad number was the result of an update of backlogged records being added to the state’s tally from Los Angeles County. On Wednesday, it reported 806 deaths that occurred during the fall and winter virus surge and 136 new deaths.

The precise number is 50,890 as recorded by Johns Hopkins University. On Jan. 30th, the state hit the 40,000 mark. Recently, COVID-19 infection and death rates started to decline. This new milestone comes days after the nation recorded a half-million deaths from the pandemic.

In the wake of this news, Governor Gavin Newsom released a new plan outlining how the state will allocate vaccines to education workers in his push to reopen more schools to in-person instruction. Last week Newsom announced that at least 10% of the state’s vaccines would go to education workers starting next month, translating into roughly 75,000 dedicated doses a week.

The plan relies on county offices distributing those vaccines each week. Teachers and other education workers will get single-use codes to make appointments online. Within that time frame, California’s 320,000 K-12 public school teachers could be inoculated in a matter of weeks. Doses will be allocated to counties based on the number of school employees and students most affected by the pandemic.

For weeks, the governor has been negotiating with lawmakers on a deal to reopen schools and salvage what’s left of this academic year. As reported here yesterday, he reported being confident of striking a deal soon “to get our kids safely back in schools very, very shortly.” Teachers unions in the state have repeatedly balked at that idea stressing that the key to getting classrooms reopened was getting teachers vaccinated.

At least 35 of the state’s 58 counties are actively vaccinating education workers, the governor’s office said. The governor’s new plan also includes custodians, administrators, and food and bus workers who are working at schools or expect to be at school within the next three weeks.

The state had administered more than 8 million doses as of Thursday.