(TNS) — There’s a new county behind Los Angeles with the second-most confirmed cases of COVID-19 in California, and as soon as this week, the state could overtake the nation’s initial epicenter in total number of known infections.
The state added 11,834 positive tests to its count Monday, according to data compiled by this news organization, increasing its overall case count to 396,501. With another 60 deaths from the virus Monday, the state is averaging 96 fatalities and 9,108 new cases per day over the past week, both near record highs.
California’s case count on Monday stood about 15,000 shy of New York, which reported the majority of its 415,000-plus cases in March and April. It’s now almost August, and the pandemic has swept into the southern and western parts of the country. While California adds more than 9,000 new cases per day, New York has squashed transmission down to about 725 per day.
California’s 63,758 new cases over the past week trails only Texas and Florida, but on a per-capita basis, the virus is more widespread in a rash of smaller states: Florida, Louisiana, Arizona, Alabama, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, Mississippi, Idaho, Georgia, Tennessee and Arkansas all have reported more cases per capita in the past week than California (161 per 100,000 residents); only two of those states and five total have conducted more tests per capita than California in the past week (2,170 per 100,000 residents).
Even as California catches up to New York in cases, its deaths lag far behind.
At its peak, New York was reporting about the same number of cases as California is now — just below 10,000 per day (but with much less testing — about 20,000 per day, compared to 120,000 per day now in California). At the same time, nearly 1,000 New Yorkers were dying from the virus each day. On California’s deadliest day, there were 151 reported deaths from the virus. As a result, the 7,760 deaths in California rank well behind New York (32,000) and also trail New Jersey (15,000) and Massachusetts (8,500).
New York, which has about half of California’s 39.5 million population, spent more than a month reporting more cases and deaths per capita each day than California’s peak to this point for either figure. The seven-day average of deaths in New York didn’t drop below 2.5 per 1 million residents per day — California’s peak rate on July 12 — from March 25 until June 18, while the seven-day rate of cases didn’t fall below California’s peak of 246 per 1 million — also on July 12 — from March 26 until May 1, again with the caveat that testing is far more prevalent now.
New York’s average daily death toll peaked on April 13 at about 50 per 1 million residents, while its average number of new cases peaked three days earlier at about 506 per 1 million per day over the past week. For comparison, Florida has the highest current per-capita case rate, averaging about 518 new cases per 1 million each day. The highest current daily death toll is in Arizona, where there have about 10.7 fatalities per 1 million residents per day over the past week — one-fifth New York’s peak.
Currently, California is averaging about 230 new cases and 2.4 deaths per 1 million residents each day. It is one of 30-plus states from which travelers to New York must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
Similar to cases, only Texas and Florida have reported the more fatalities from the virus in the past week than California, but nine states have higher per-capita death rates: Arizona, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Nevada and New Jersey.
The largest growth continues to come out of Southern California — even more so in the counties next to Los Angeles.
A spike in Orange County last week sent the seven-day average there north of 1,000 cases per day; it has since fallen back to about 675 per day — about the level it was at two weeks ago. Orange County overtook Riverside over the weekend while the latter failed to report new test results. After Monday, when both counties reported, Orange County’s case count stood at 29,986 — three more than Riverside County.
The last time there was a county other than Los Angeles with more cases than Riverside County came May 24, when San Diego had 6,701 cases to Riverside’s 6,464.
As recently as July 2, Orange County had fewer cases than LA, Riverside and San Diego counties. But since then, its growth has outpaced every other hard-hit Southern California county. Its total case count has grown by 99 percent, compared to 83 percent in San Bernardino, 60 percent in Riverside and San Diego, 47 percent in Los Angeles and 26 percent in Imperial County.
North of Los Angeles, Kern County hasn’t seen the long-lasting rise as some of its neighboring counties but has seen a dramatic spike in cases in the past three days. It added another 787 cases on Monday, which would have nearly quadrupled the daily record prior to this week, if not for another 1,214 cases the previous two days. Just in the past three days, Kern County has reported 21.7 percent of the 9,234 total cases it has reported since the pandemic began.
The Bay Area, home to about 8 million people, compared to 3.2 million in Orange County and 900,000 in Kern County, reported one of its highest single-day totals of the pandemic: 1,174 new cases Monday — the fourth time the region has reported more than 1,000 cases in a day. Another nine Bay Area residents succumbed to the virus Monday, keeping the seven-day average near its late-April level of more than 7 per day.
The per-capita rate here stood at about 113 new cases and 0.9 deaths per 1 million residents each day over the past week.
Hospitalizations in the Bay Area and across California hit record highs on Sunday, the most recent day for which data was available. Bay Area hospitals added a net of 15 patients to increase the total here to 705 — 40 percent more than two weeks ago — while the total number of patients statewide climbed to 6,921, a 22 percent increase in two weeks.
Alameda County leads the region in hospitalizations (159), as well as total cases, followed closely by Santa Clara County (157) but neither cracked the top 10 in hospitalizations statewide. Los Angeles (2,218), Orange (666), San Bernardino (613), Riverside (507), San Diego (390), Fresno (2269), Kern (248), San Joaquin (210), Stanislaus (209) and Sacramento (204) all had more patients hospitalized Sunday than any county in the Bay Area.
After a brief dip Friday and Saturday, the number of patients receiving treatment in intensive care units was back at a record high Sunday: 2,157 confirmed or suspected to have the virus. There were eight counties in the state with less than 20 percent of their ICU beds available: San Benito, where ICUs were 100 percent full, Napa (94.7 percent), Madera (90.2 percent), Yolo (88.2 percent), Sacramento (85.3 percent), Imperial (84.6 percent), Merced (84.2 percent) and Placer (81.4 percent).
As California neared 400,000 total cases, the country was closing in on 4 million. It has reported at least 60,000 new cases on all but one of the past 10 days, while the nationwide death toll crossed 140,000 on Monday, more than any other country.
©2020 the Palo Alto Daily News (Menlo Park, Calif.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.