California’s cases of COVID-19 continued to nosedive over President’s Day weekend, according to data compiled by The Mercury News, eventually falling below their previous summertime peak for the first time in three months.
The state has reported fewer than 10,000 cases over the past two days, combined. However, many counties did not issues updates Sunday or Monday, meaning case numbers could rebound slightly once the holiday weekend is accounted for. Nonetheless, at approximately 8,050 per day over the past week, California is averaging fewer than a fifth of the cases it was at its all-time high last month, including a 57% reduction over the past two weeks. For the first time since mid-November, California is averaging fewer cases than at its previous peak last summer.
Hospitalizations are also falling faster than any other point of the pandemic, down 40% in the past two weeks, to 8,693 COVID-positive patients, as of Sunday. Available intensive-care beds have increased nearly 20% in the past two weeks, and there are fewer active ICU patients than any time since the first week of December.
However, while deaths are falling, COVID-19 continues to claim the lives of hundreds of Californians, on average, each day, far more than any time prior to this winter. With 64 fatalities in Monday’s abridged holiday count, California is averaging fewer than 400 fatalities per day over the past week for the first time since the start of January. In those six weeks since, California has recorded more than 21,000 deaths from COVID-19, only about 4,000 fewer than in the prior nine months of the pandemic.
At approximately 377 per day over the past week, California is averaging one-third of the fatalities it was during its deadliest period of the pandemic just over two weeks ago.
On Monday, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties combined for 55 of the 64 fatalities reported around the state. In the Bay Area, Marin County reported three new deaths, Santa Clara County reported two and Alameda County reported one fatality. Elsewhere, Mariposa and Lake counties also added to their death tolls.
On Tuesday, Dr. Mark Ghaly, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, is expected to provide the weekly update to the state’s reopening tier assignments. Bay Area residents may be watching attentively.
Last week, San Francisco came closest to exiting the most restrictive purple reopening tier with an adjusted case rate of 11.4 per day per 100,000 residents, according to the state’s metrics (the adjusted rate accounts for high volume of testing). In Santa Clara County, the unadjusted rate was just over 21/100K, but when adjusted for testing, it reported a rate of 15.9/100K, according to the state.
At the time, the state reported San Francisco with an unadjusted case rate of 15.6/100K. Now, according to the most recent data compiled by this news organization, the unadjusted case rate has fallen to 12/100K. In Santa Clara County, the unadjusted rate has fallen to about 16.7/100K.
To exit the purple and enter the red reopening tier, a county must report an adjusted case rate below 7/100K and a positivity rate below 8%. Every county in the Bay Area already meets the positivity rate threshold.
Contributed by local news sources