California cases, hospitalizations continue to sink


With its data snafu in the rearview mirror, California’s case load has now fallen below the recent false low set three weeks ago when hundreds of thousands of tests went unreported.

The seven-day average Monday fell below 6,000 cases per day for the first time since the start of July and hit its lowest level since July 5, according to data compiled by this news organization. With another 106 deaths reported around the state Monday, that seven-day average remained about 130 per day, about where it has been since the beginning of August.

The case curve initially began a steep decline in the last week of July, prompting public optimism from officials, including Gov. Gavin Newsom. But it was later discovered the decline had been partially due to a backlog of some 300,000 tests.

California has reported about 102,000 test results per day over the past week, according to the COVID Tracking Project, also its fewest since the beginning of July. The positivity rate (averaged over seven days) also continues to decline, from a peak around 8% in late July to 5.6% Monday, the lowest that rate has been since June 25.

Hospitalizations also continue to plummet even faster than new cases, driven by a steady decline in Southern California.

Statewide, the number of active hospitalizations was 4,467 on Sunday, the lowest that number has been since June 25. A week ago, that number fell below 5,000 for the first time in over a month. Since then, it has continued to decline another 10% and is down 38% overall from its peak in late July.

But in the Bay Area, the 698 patients hospitalized Sunday were about the same as a week ago and about 15% lower than its peak, close to a month ago. It once had a per-capita hospitalization rate less than half of Los Angeles, but they were nearly the same on Sunday: 10.3 per 100,000 in the Bay Area vs. 12 per 100,000 in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles alone has shed a thousand hospital patients in a month, and its neighboring counties have also seen commensurate declines. But, as noted, their per-capita rates remain higher than the Bay Area.

Riverside County, which doesn’t issue updates over the weekend, reported 45 of the 106 deaths around California on Monday. It was followed by 13 in Los Angeles County and 12 in Sacramento County.

The nine deaths in Marin County were the fourth-most statewide and the most in the Bay Area. Solano County was the only other county in the region to add to its death toll Monday, with two, for a total of 11 across the region.

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