California Governor Gavin Newsom began his Thursday news conference speaking about the state’s efforts to mitigate wildfires, announcing the addition of 12 Blackhawk helicopters to the state’s fleet as wildfire season begins to peak. He then transitioned to addressing a more immediate conflagration.
Newsom announced a record number of daily deaths in the state from COVID-19, with 149 lives lost over the past 24 hours. That’s up about 23 percent from the previous high of 115 deaths. That grim mark was reported on April 22, during the previous peak of the virus in California. The total number of lives lost in the state due to coronavirus is now 6,711.
Newsom pointed out that one recent tally of daily deaths was 6, and that delayed reporting can inflate or deflate daily numbers. As a result, Newsom asked Californians to focus on the 7 day mortality rate, which is 73 lives lost each day. He said that number indicates how devastating the virus continues to be. It is worth noting that the previous high of 114 deaths occurred just two days ago, on July 7.
California Coronavirus Update: Gov. Gavin Newsom Reports New COVID-19 Case Numbers That Shatter Daily Record by 64%
Newsom reported 7,031 new cases of coronavirus in the state. The 7-day average of new cases is currently 8,043, a number that, three days ago, would have been an all-time high.
The 14 and 7 day rolling positivity rates are both at 7.3 percent, announced Newsom.
Just one day before, the state reported a 7.1 percent positivity rate over 14 days, according to the governor. “That 7 percent can spike,” warned Newsom on Wednesday. “[It] can quickly turn into the 20-plus range.”
Hospitalization up .4 percent and ICU down .1 percent. Again, Newsom emphasized looking at the 14-day average for both of those metrics.
Hospitalizations, he said on Tuesday, had spiked 44% over a two-week period. The state now has 41,000 beds out of 75,000 occupied. About 18% of those cases are COVID-19-related.
Likewise, ICU admissions are at a 34% increase on Tuesday, with 15% of those beds occupied by coronavirus patients.
Newsom singled out Los Angeles and 4 other heavily-impacted counties county, saying they “continue to be areas of additional focus for our team.”
On Wednesday, Newsom announced a staggering number of new coronavirus cases in the state. Over the previous 24 hours, California had seen 11,694 new cases, which included a backlog of cases from Los Angeles County.
Testing backlogs have spiked the state’s daily new-case numbers before, but Wednesday’s number so far exceeded the state’s previous all-time high of 7,149 reported on June 24 that it cannot be ignored.
For a more measured idea of where the state is, the seven-day average of daily cases provides some perspective. California averaged 8,116 new cases in the 7-day period that ended Wednesday. That daily average, in itself, exceeded the previous daily record.
Earlier in the day, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Tuesday confirmed 4,015 new cases of COVID-19, the region’s highest number of new cases reported since the pandemic began. The high number of cases was due, in part, to a backlog of about 2,000 test results received from one lab that had just submitted lab results from July 2-5.
Testing results are available for more than 1.2 million individuals with 9 percent of those people testing positive, said L.A. County Health Director Barbara Ferrer. The daily positivity rate of all tests — a composite of a seven-day rolling average — rose to 11.6 percent on Tuesday. The day before, that seven-day average was pegged at 10 percent.
Also on Wednesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti began his coronavirus press conference with a warning.
Noting that Los Angeles is currently seeing its highest level of hospitalizations since the pandemic began, Garcetti warned, “These [next two] weeks are absolutely critical. Critical to whether our schools open, whether our economy thrives.”
He reminded residents that “All options remain on the table. We will do whatever we need to.”
If things get worse, said Garcetti, “We’d likely return to a mandated stay-at-home order,” in one or two weeks.
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