Record numbers of patients with COVID-19 were hospitalized this weekend in Los Angeles and Orange counties, and San Francisco hit a high for new coronavirus cases, as space in intensive care units across the state shrunk to dangerous lows.

The figures paint a dire picture just two weeks before Christmas, when holiday travel could ramp up despite warnings from public health officials.

There were 1,236 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Orange County on Sunday and 4,203 in Los Angeles on Saturday, according to the latest available numbers — both record highs. San Francisco, which had been a front-runner in coronavirus testing, reported a record of 323 new cases Saturday.

Intensive care units in Southern California had only 4.2% of their capacity available Sunday, falling below the statewide level of 7.4%, according to the California Department of Public Health. Northern California had the highest capacity, with 29%, while the San Joaquin Valley had just 1.5%

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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