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Three Weeks In, Valley's Vaccine Distribution Falls Short Of Goals—COVID-19 Update For Jan. 8, 2021

Valley Children's
A healthcare worker at Valley Children's receives the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on December 16, 2020.


A month after COVID-19 infections began to surge following the Thanksgiving holiday, the virus continues to devastate the San Joaquin Valley. Hospitals are reporting more patients with COVID-19 than ever, intensive care units continue to report only a handful of open beds each day, and hundreds of healthcare workers who could otherwise be caring for patients or staffing medical facilities are currently unable to work after either testing positive for the virus or entering quarantine following a close exposure.

The arrival of the vaccine has so far brought only limited relief: Of the 2 million doses that have arrived in California, logistical challenges and vaccine reluctance have meant thatmore than 70 percent still remain unused. In the Valley, nearly 21,000 doses have been administered out of more than 44,000 that arrived. This week’s COVID-19 update explores the vaccine rollout in the wake of an overwhelmed medical system, featuring excerpts from a media call with Fresno County’s Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra and Community Health Division Manager Joe Prado.

Meanwhile, here’s a snapshot for Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, and Tulare Counties (note that some numbers may have changed between the interview and publication):

As of Jan. 7:

As of 1 week previous, Dec. 31:

  • 2,055 total deaths out of 214,113 total cases
  • 1,456 people hospitalized and 289 in ICUs
  • 89 deaths in the last week
  • 2,603 average cases reported daily in last week

As of 4 weeks previous, Dec. 10:

You can always find up-to-date information for your county here.

Kerry Klein is an award-winning reporter whose coverage of public health, air pollution, drinking water access and wildfires in the San Joaquin Valley has been featured on NPR, KQED, Science Friday and Kaiser Health News. Her work has earned numerous regional Edward R. Murrow and Golden Mike Awards and has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists and Society of Environmental Journalists. Her podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool was named a podcast “listeners couldn’t get enough of in 2021” by the radio aggregator NPR One.
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