Peter Wells in New York
California has confirmed further cases of a fast-spreading variant of coronavirus, Gavin Newsom revealed on Monday.
The governor said this afternoon the state now had six cases of the new strain, which was first identified in the UK late last year.
Three new cases were detected in San Diego county, which is where California’s first known case of the variant was identified last week. Two new cases were found in San Bernadino county.
Separately, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo revealed on Monday afternoon the state had confirmed its first case of the UK variant of coronavirus.
An individual from Saratoga county tested positive for the strain and had no known travel history, Mr Cuomo wrote in a message on Twitter. The UK strain of coronavirus is more contagious, but is not considered to be more dangerous.
The first US case was confirmed by Colorado health officials on December 29. Data on Monday from California’s health department revealed 29,633 coronavirus cases reported over the past 24 hours, following three straight days of more than 40,000 cases apiece. A further 97 deaths were attributed to coronavirus, the smallest daily toll in a week.
Mr Newsom cautioned that the slight retreat in the numbers was probably a lull before a “surge on top of the surge” that may stem from increased social interaction during the festive season.
The new figures took the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in California over 2.4m for the first time, more than any other state. The death toll, at 26,635, is second only to New York’s.
The number of people in California hospitals rose to a record 22,003, while there are just 1,337 intensive care unit beds available across the state.
Mr Newsom said there had been a seven-fold increase in the number of hospitalisations over the past two months, while the number of people in ICU beds has risen six-fold over the same period.