The day after California began its Covid-19 vaccination rollout, the state activated its "mass fatality" program, including the purchase of 5,000 body bags.
In a news conference Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the activation of the program, which coordinates mutual aid activity between state and local agencies in a crisis, is in direct response to the surge of Covid-19 cases and deaths.
A total of 60 refrigerated storage units, each more than 50 feet long, will be used throughout the state for emergency overflow for coroners and morgues.
Newsom said the program addresses what he called "sobering realities" in the state's battle against the pandemic.
"I don't want people to scare folks, but this is a deadly disease. And we need to be mindful of where we are in this current journey together, to the vaccine. We are not at the finish line," he said.
Rising infections: On Tuesday, California reported its fifth consecutive day of more than 30,000 new infections.
The state's death toll stands at 21,188. Nationally, the death toll for the pandemic surpassed 300,000 on Monday as health officials warn of no immediate sign of abating.