(TNS) — California has again reported its highest number of coronavirus cases in a single day, with 11,554 cases recorded Monday, according to the Los Angeles Times' tally of reports from the state's 58 counties.
The number surpasses a record broken just one week ago, when 11,142 coronavirus cases were reported, according to The Times' coronavirus tracker.
The state is also reporting worsening death tolls. The seven-day average of coronavirus-related deaths has been hovering between 91 and 99 fatalities each day since July 10, the worst it has been since the pandemic began.
For the weeklong period that ended Monday, 674 deaths were reported in California, the highest weekly total to date. In the previous seven-day period, 640 people died, which had also been a weekly record; the week before that, 474 died. Coronavirus-related hospitalizations are also at record-breaking levels. In the last 30 days, records have been broken for 28 of them, including on Sunday, when 6,921 people statewide were reported in hospitals.
Despite the grim news, there are some signs that the situation may be improving after a shutdown of indoor services at businesses including bars and restaurants, closures that have been underway for the last three weeks.
Hospitalizations grew by 7 percent Sunday, compared with the previous Sunday; that's an improvement over a similar increase seen July 12, when hospitalizations went up by 12 percent over the previous Sunday. On July 5, hospitalizations had grown by 21 percent over the previous Sunday; and on June 28, hospitalizations jumped 29 percent over the previous week.
Also, the rate at which coronavirus tests are coming back positive may have finally stabilized, although it is probably too early to know whether that trend will continue.
On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the so-called positivity rate over the previous seven days was 7.2 percent; it had been 7.7 percent the previous Monday.
On Friday, Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of California's Health and Human Services Agency, said he was encouraged by the stability in the positivity rate after weeks of increases. In late May, the positivity rate was around 4 percent.
Ghaly suggested Friday that it was too early to call it a trend, but if the positivity rate continues to fall, it could mean that the re-closure of some businesses is working to help control the spread of the disease.
"As soon as we feel confident in that trend and we see other numbers start to stabilize, we'll credit some of the moves we made over the last few weeks," Ghaly said. "It's been about three, four weeks since we ... first started to make moves ... so we're right in that time period where we may see some of the changes in the benefits of those [policy changes]."
It was three weeks ago — on June 28 — that Newsom ordered bars closed in seven counties, including Los Angeles. Three days later, on July 1, he ordered the closure of bars and indoor restaurant dining rooms in 19 of the state's worst-hit counties, affecting 72 percent of the state's population.
Newsom expanded the shutdown last week, ordering all bars and indoor dining at restaurants statewide to close. He also shuttered the indoor operations of a number of businesses — including gyms, malls, hair and nail salons, places of worship and offices for nonessential industries — in dozens of counties.
Some of the areas with the worst per capita coronavirus rates are in counties with state prisons hit hard by outbreaks, with Lassen County in the remote northeast corner of California reporting 805 cases per 100,000 residents in the last 14 days and Marin County reporting 565 cases per 100,000 residents.
Imperial County in the southeastern corner of the state is still suffering, with 786 cases per 100,000 residents. The Central Valley is also hard-hit, with case rates in Stanislaus, Madera, Kings, Kern, Merced, Fresno and Tulare counties ranging from 400 to 700 cases per 100,000 residents.
Of the state's southern urban and suburban counties, L.A. County is reporting 420 cases per 100,000 residents; San Bernardino County, 410; Riverside, 396; Orange, 383; Ventura, 231; and San Diego, 216.
Northern California's metro areas have reported lower numbers, with Sacramento County reporting 194 cases per 100,000 residents; San Francisco, 151; and Santa Clara County, home to Silicon Valley, reporting 124.
The state's target for keeping the coronavirus under control is no more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents over the last 14 days.
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