- Associated Press - Sunday, February 7, 2021

LOS ANGELES (AP) - California’s coronavirus picture remains much improved, but officials expressed concern that Super Bowl gatherings on Sunday could erase gains made over the past several weeks.

“Don’t fumble. We are almost in the end zone,” the California Department of Public Health said in a campaign urging residents not to gather for the big game.

California’s worst coronavirus surge continues to ease as rates of new virus cases and hospitalizations continue to fall.

The number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 slipped below 11,670 statewide, a drop of nearly 35% in two weeks, according to the state health department.

Last week California rescinded its hospital surge order, which had required hospitals to delay some elective surgeries and to accept patients from other counties whose intensive care unit capacity had dropped below 15%.

The 15,064 new confirmed cases on Sunday represent a drop of more than 30% from the mid-December peak of 54,000.

Deaths also are starting to fall but remain alarmingly high, however, with a daily average of 511 over the past two weeks. There were 295 deaths reported Sunday.

This week California will open more mass inoculation sites even as the shortage of vaccine has local officials restricting who gets shots. Los Angeles County, home to 10 million residents, said there will be no first doses administered at the five mass vaccination sites it runs.

“Starting on Tuesday, due to short supply of vaccines from the state, county sites will be administering second doses only for the remainder of the week,” the LA County Department of Health said Saturday on Twitter.

Santa Clara County and the San Francisco 49ers will open California’s largest vaccination site at Levi’s Stadium early this week. It eventually will be capable of injecting up to 15,000 people a day.

Meanwhile, unions representing San Francisco Unified School District employees said Sunday they have reached a tentative agreement with the district to safely reopen the city’s public schools.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported the unions said they agreed to return to classrooms when the city is in the red tier - the second-least restrictive level of California’s reopening blueprint - if on-site staff are vaccinated. If the city moves into the even-less-restrictive orange tier, teachers and other staff would return without vaccination.

San Francisco currently remains in the purple tier, the state’s most restrictive. Officials from the 53,000-student district did not immediately return calls for comment Sunday.

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