As the second week of February comes to an end, so too has the second straight week of consistent declines in all of California’s COVID-19 metrics, according to data compiled by The Mercury News. However, cases, hospitalizations and deaths all remain at higher levels than any time prior to this winter.
On Thursday, there were another 10,401 new cases and 541 fatalities from COVID-19 across California, both still substantial tallies but lower than the week before, while its active hospitalizations fell by a net of another 400 patients, and the total number of patients being treated in intensive care units fell below 3,000 for the first time in two months. Just 4.6% of tests have come back positive for COVID-19 over the past week, compared to a positivity rate above 14% last month during the peak of the pandemic.
At approximately 11,320 cases per day over the past week, the state is averaging about a quarter of the infections it was this time last month — at the height of its outbreak — including a 50% decline in the past two weeks. Deaths, however, continue to come at a pace of about 414 per day over the past week, down nearly 25% from two weeks ago but still three times higher than any point prior to the winter wave.
Even as deaths fall, Californians continue to die in substantially higher numbers than any other state.
The overall death toll in the state, which recently surpassed New York for the most in the nation, went over 46,000 on Thursday. Over the past week, California has recorded nearly 1,000 more victims of COVID-19 than the next-closest state, Texas, according to the New York Times. Of the six states to average at least 100 fatalities per day over the past week, only Arizona has recorded them at a higher rate per-capita.
Although California tops the list in total lives lost to the virus, 30 states have lost a larger proportion of their population. Even Los Angeles County, home to 10 million people and one of the hardest-hit locales in California, would rank below 10 states in lives lost per-capita, even though it has a higher overall death toll than seven of them and any other county in the nation.
On Thursday, Los Angeles County and the rest of Southern California continued to account for an outsized share of the fatalities across the state, but 33 of its 58 counties added to their death tolls.
The Bay Area combined to report 67 across the region, led by 30 in Santa Clara County, 15 in Contra Costa County and 13 in Alameda County.
Southern California’s approximately 69% share of the statewide fatalities Tuesday was lower than its overall portion throughout the pandemic but remained well above its share of the population. The region accounted for the four largest county death tolls and seven of 13 with double-digit fatalities: 158 in Los Angeles County, 59 in San Bernardino County, 51 in San Diego County, 42 in Orange County, 23 in Riverside County, 18 in Ventura County and 10 in Imperial County.
Now, however, Southern California counties no longer almost exclusively populate the list of highest infection rates in the state.
A month removed from a statewide rate above 100, only three counties in California have recorded a daily per-capita average of at least 50 cases per 100,000 residents over the past week. All three are sparsely populated and have combined for fewer than 25 total cases per day over the past week. Statewide, there were fewer than 30 daily cases per 100,000 residents over the past week for the first time since before Thanksgiving, an infection rate lower than 21 other states, according to the Times.
Ventura, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles all still rank among the top 10 but with respective daily infection rates over the past week of 43, 35 and 34 cases per 100,000 residents.
Now, more counties in the San Joaquin Valley populate the statewide top 10: Kern, Kings, Stanislaus and Merced counties, with infection rates ranging from 39 to 45 cases per 100,000 residents.
In the wider Bay Area, no county has recorded more than 30 daily cases per 100,000 residents over the past week, and all of its five core counties recorded infection rates between 16 and 21 per 100,000.
Contributed by local news sources