As health experts feared, patients being treated for COVID-19 in California’s hospitals have soared in the weeks following an initial spike in transmission of the virus.
The total rose to 3,683 in the most recent update from the California Department of Public Health — the state’s most active hospitalizations since Sept. 1.
Similarly, the number of new cases also reached its highest point since Aug. 17, an average of about 7,967 per day over the past week, after there were 6,595 reported around the state Sunday, according to data compiled by this news organization.
In the past two weeks, the average number of cases reported each day has nearly doubled — a 91% increase from about 4,162 per day at the start of November — while the number of patients hospitalized has increased by nearly 50%.
In Los Angeles County, which is already under the most restrictive reopening guidelines from the state, is now reported to be considering additional action after a surge of new cases over the weekend prompted more concern.
There were nearly 7,000 new cases of COVID-19 reported in LA County on Saturday and Sunday alone — about 47% of the entire statewide total for the weekend, despite LA’s approximate 25% share of the population. Cases in the nation’s most-populous county have risen by 84% in the past two weeks and on Sunday reached their highest point since the first week of August, at about 2,479 per day over the past week.
In the Bay Area, there were about 85% more cases reported each day, on average, in the past week than there were two weeks ago. Last week, the daily average broached 1,000 cases per day for the first time since the third week of August.
The pace of new cases is accelerating, but transmission has been slowly rising in most parts of California for close to a month.
The rise in hospitalizations began about two weeks ago, around the start of November.
In that time, few locales have been spared the increased strain on their medical systems.
In the Bay Area, the number of patients being treated for COVID-19 is 33% higher than now than two weeks ago. In Santa Clara County, the region’s most populous, hospitalizations have increased at nearly double that rate — up 63% in the past two weeks — while others have seen more modest increases: about 28% in Contra Costa County, about 11% each in Alameda County and San Francisco.
The eight counties that make up the San Joaquin Valley had about the same number of patients as the Bay Area region when November began. But that region has seen an even more dramatic increase: up 61% in the past two weeks to 486, as of Saturday, compared to 403 active hospitalizations in the Bay Area.
In every county in Southern California, there are at least 30% more patients hospitalized than there were two weeks ago. In Los Angeles, the total is over 1,000 for the first time since Sept. 1 — a 35% increase in the past two weeks — and in Riverside County, hospitalizations have doubled in that time to 310, as of Saturday. There are only more current hospitalizations in San Bernardino and San Diego counties, where there were 362 and 317, respectively.
In Northern California, Shasta County is now reporting its most hospitalizations of any point of the pandemic, following the first significant wave of cases in the sparsely populated county. There are about 11.7 people hospitalized for every 100,000 residents of the county, compared to a rate of about 5.0/100K in the Bay Area, about 10.5 in Los Angeles County and about 9.3 statewide. San Bernardino and Stanislaus counties have among the highest per-capita hospitalization rates in the state, at about 16.6 and 16.9 per 100,000 residents, respectively.
Overall, fewer than one in 10,000 Californians is currently hospitalized with COVID-19. Nationwide, however, the rate is about one in every 4,700. On Sunday, there were more Americans hospitalized with the novel coronavirus than at any other point of the pandemic — 69,987, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
The number of patients hospitalized nationwide has risen at similar pace to California: an increase of about 47% in the past two weeks.
The daily average of cases is rising at an astounding rate. After Sunday, the U.S. is averaging more cases — about 150,000 per day, according to the New York Times — than it had reported in any single day prior to this week; it has soared by about 81% in the past two weeks.
While the average daily death toll continues to decrease modestly in California — down about 8.5% in the past two weeks — it is back on the rise nationally. Now averaging about 40% more fatalities per day than two weeks ago, the U.S. is on pace to record the 250,000th death from COVID-19 this week.
In California, there were 44 total deaths reported over the weekend to bring the cumulative total to 18,264.
Source: Orange County Register