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Newsom in Fresno Today, Expected to Announce Vaccine Site at Save Mart

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Gov. Gavin Newsom will be in Fresno today to provide an update on California’s efforts to ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations, his office announced Wednesday morning.

On Tuesday, multiple sources told GV Wire℠ that the governor planned to announce Thursday that the Save Mart Center will be designated as a mass vaccination site, one of five in the state.

The sources, with inside knowledge of the arrangement, could not speak on the record because they are not directly involved.

Up to 6,000 vaccines could be administered daily.

Save Mart Center will be chosen because of its size indoors, ample parking, and ease of accessibility.

During a call with reporters Tuesday afternoon, Fresno County Department of Public Health Officials said they had yet to be formally notified about a vaccine center at the Save Mart Center. Nonetheless, the potential additional source of vaccines in the county was welcome news.

“(It’s) definitely much appreciated,” said county interim health officer Dr. Rais Vohra. “I know that a lot of our local leaders really pulled hard to have that FEMA site be designated to come to Fresno.”

The possibility of more vaccines being available will augment the doses the county already is administering.

Newsom has been appearing this week at other mega-sites including Petco Park in San Diego on Monday and Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara today. He also announced sites in Oakland and Los Angeles last week.

Why No Mass Vaccine Site Here?

The governor faced criticism for leaving out the Central Valley.

Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, also pitched Save Mart Center as a location. It’s unlikely he would be in Fresno for the announcement, as Thursday is a scheduled work day for Congress in Washington.

There is no word what would happen to current events scheduled for the Save Mart Center, including Fresno State men’s basketball on Feb. 18 and 20; and women’s basketball on Feb. 25 and 27.

Joe Prado, Fresno County community health manager, said Tuesday he had not been notified of any decision to use the Save Mart Center for a mass vaccination site.

Gov. Newsom is expected to appear at the Save Mart Center on Thursday (GV Wire/David Taub)

Number of Doses Growing

As of Tuesday, he said, more than 94,000 vaccine doses have been administered in Fresno County, and that number is expected to grow considerably.

The number of doses available more than doubled this week, with 10,000 Moderna vaccines and 9,000 Pfizer vaccines on hand, Prado said.

With more doses available, Prado said he expects people age 65 and older will be added to the pool of people eligible for shots this month.

In past weeks, Fresno County got only 8,000 vaccines, far short of the number promised.

Meanwhile, the rate of COVID-19 infections continues to drop in the county. The state’s latest “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” dashboard shows a 9.7% case positivity rate for the last seven days. The rate was 11.4% one week ago.

There are now 30.3 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, compared to 41.4 last week.

There are currently 10 available ICU beds. Just five days ago there were only two available in the entire county.

David Taub has spent most of his career in journalism behind the scenes working as a TV assignment editor and radio producer. For more than a decade, he has worked in the Fresno market with such stops at KSEE-24, KMJ and Power Talk 96.7. Taub also worked the production and support side of some of TV sports biggest events including the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals and NASCAR to name a few. Taub graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email