With the holiday season fast approaching, there are no signs the latest and largest wave yet of the COVID-19 pandemic is slowing down in California or elsewhere in the United States.
Hospitalizations are rising faster than ever around the state, and over the weekend, California’s daily average of new cases climbed to its highest point of the pandemic, while the rolling seven-day positivity rate reached 6% for the first time since mid-August.
An average of 11,444 new infections were reported each day over the past week, according to data compiled by this news organization, after a total of 5,777 on Sunday.
In the past 12 days, more than 2,000 COVID-confirmed Californians have been admitted to hospitals around the state — its sharpest rise in hospitalizations since the pandemic began, according to this news organization’s analysis of state data. On Saturday, according the latest update from the California Department of Public Health, the active total reached 5,170 — the first time it has broached 5,000 since the third week of August and an increase of 68% over the past 12 days.
Compared to two weeks ago, California is reporting more than twice the number of new cases each day, its positivity rate has increased by more than two full points and 78% more people are currently hospitalized around the state.
Prior to this surge, California previously experienced about a 52% increase over 12 days during the final two weeks of June; more than 1,700 were newly hospitalized over that span. By June 30, there were about as many in hospital beds as there are now, just over 5,000. About three weeks later, California reported its most active hospitalizations to date, a total of 7,170 on July 21.
As recently as the final week of October, there were fewer than 2,300 Californians hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Currently, COVID-19 patients account for about 7% of the total hospital beds in the state and about 16% of its intensive care units.
The surge in hospitalizations comes following an increase in cases that began around the end of October and now, as health officials warned, appears to be resulting in more lives lost from the virus.
A total of 459 deaths were reported over the past week in California, or an average of about 65 per day, the state’s highest weekly death toll since Oct. 1-7 and a 50% increase in the past two weeks. Since the pandemic began, at least 18,723 Californians have perished from COVID-19, according to data compiled by this news organization.
In the Bay Area, the cumulative death toll is nearing 2,000, but there were no new fatalities reported Sunday, after three counties combined to report eight on Saturday (five in Sonoma, two in San Francisco and one in Contra Costa).
There were 14 newly reported coronavirus deaths Sunday, led by nine in Los Angeles County, where the cumulative death toll recently passed Queens County, New York, and is closing in on Kings County, New York, for the most of any jurisdiction in the nation, according to Johns Hopkins University (with some 10 million residents, it is also the most populous county in the nation).
A total of 7,438 LA County residents have perished from COVID-19, or about one in every 1,350 people living in the county. In the Bay Area, the rate is about one in 4,100, while it is about one in 2,100 throughout all of California and about one in 1,300 nationwide.
Overall, the cumulative death toll in the U.S. is now over 256,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. is now reporting an average of more than 1,500 new fatalities per day from COVID-19 for the first time since mid-May, according to the New York Times.
More Americans are hospitalized with COVID-19 than any other point of the pandemic, according to the COVID Tracking Project. On Sunday, the total climbed over 83,000, double what it was less than a month ago and a 47% increase in the past two weeks.
As the traditional busiest travel day of the year approaches, health officials are asking folks to stay home, or at least stay local. But over the weekend, more travelers passed through airport security checkpoints than any point since March.
Source: Orange County Register