California COVID-19 crisis likely to get worse before it gets better as deaths, hospitalizations spike
With much of California beginning a stay-at-home order Sunday night, it’s becoming clear that the COVID-19 surge is likely to get worse before it gets better.
Average daily coronavirus cases have jumped sixfold since early October; hospitalizations have quadrupled since late October; and average daily deaths have nearly tripled in just the last month.
Hospitalizations and daily deaths are expected to rise. It can take two weeks after someone is diagnosed with the coronavirus to get sick enough to require hospitalization, and seven to 10 more days for them to be admitted into the intensive care unit.
Officials have feared that the Thanksgiving holiday weekend caused more spread, and those infections will likely continue to be seen in the next week. Los Angeles County hit more than 9,000 new cases Saturday, a sign the holiday made things worse.
Here is a rundown:
Cases: California averaged nearly 19,000 new coronavirus cases a day over the last week — that’s six times the number from early October, when the state was averaging 3,200 new cases a day over the same time period.
Driving the sharp increase is the inexorable jump in daily cases. California tallied its third largest total of coronavirus cases reported in a single day on Saturday: 21,528. That’s just a day after the state broke its all-time single-day record on Friday with 22,369.
Hospitalizations: California is nearing a milestone of 10,000 people hospitalized at any single point in time with COVID-19 infections. On Friday, there were 9,430 people with confirmed COVID-19 infections in California’s hospitals — quadruple the number from late October, when there were about 2,300 people in the hospital with the disease.
As of Friday, hospitalizations have grown so fast that the record has been broken seven consecutive days. The string of records began Nov. 28, when the total was 7,415.
Deaths: California is now averaging 107 deaths a day from the virus — reaching a high that hasn’t been seen since the late summer. Average daily deaths have nearly tripled since early November, when about 40 people were dying a day on average.
Test positivity rate: The rate at which coronavirus test results are coming back positive has soared to 9.7%, according to the seven-day average released by health officials Saturday. That’s triple the number from last month, when the rate was 3.2% on Nov. 1, and demonstrates that the virus is spreading rapidly across the state.
Los Angeles County
Cases: Los Angeles County was averaging nearly 7,000 new coronavirus cases a day over the last week — nearly seven times the rate from mid-October, when L.A. County was averaging about 1,000 cases a day.
L.A. County has broken single-day coronavirus case records in four of the last five days this last week. On Saturday, 9,218 cases were reported, according to The Times’ independent tally, exceeding a record set Friday, when 8,562 cases were reported. The single-day record was also broken Thursday, when 7,713 cases were reported.
The numbers mean that coronavirus cases in L.A. County are increasing at a pace that’s even more dire than what officials had forecast earlier in the week. On Tuesday, The Times reported that L.A. County officials projected the region would be seeing 9,000 cases a day by the middle to end of the week of Dec. 7. The county crossed that threshold Saturday.
Hospitalizations: L.A. County hit its sixth consecutive daily record for COVID-19 hospitalizations with 2,855 people hospitalized, according to data released Saturday; that’s quadruple the number from early October, when about 700 people were in hospitals with such infections.
Of those currently hospitalized in the Los Angeles County with COVID-19, 666 are in ICUs, a number higher than at any point in the pandemic. L.A. County’s ICU numbers have more than tripled since early October, when fewer than 200 people with coronavirus infections were in ICUs, and have hit new highs in the last three days.
Deaths: With at least 43 new COVID-19 deaths recorded Saturday, L.A. County is now averaging 38 deaths a day, a pace not seen since late July, during the region’s previous peak. The latest average daily number has nearly quadrupled since early November, when there was an average of 10 deaths a day.
To contain the spread of COVID-19, parks, restaurants and stores are slowly reopening.
San Diego County
Cases: San Diego County on Thursday averaged more than 1,500 cases a day over the last week, a record. That’s more than five times the figure in early October, when about 270 cases a day were diagnosed.
On Saturday, 2,287 new cases were reported, the second-highest total for a single day.
Hospitalizations: The number of people hospitalized in San Diego County with COVID-19 has nearly quadrupled since early October, when there were about 200 people hospitalized with the infection. According to data released Saturday, there were 772 people in the hospital with COVID-19.
Deaths: San Diego County was averaging about eight deaths a day over the last week.
Cases: Orange County tallied a record number of new coronavirus cases in a single day Saturday: 1,966. That’s the third time in the last two weeks Orange County has notched a single-day record.
Orange County was averaging about 1,150 cases a day over the last week — that’s nearly seven times more than the number from mid-October, when Orange County was recording about 170 cases a day.
Hospitalizations: Orange County has hit its third consecutive daily record for COVID-19 hospitalizations with 842 people hospitalized, according to data released Saturday; that’s more than five times worse than mid-October, when about 160 were hospitalized.
Deaths: Orange County was averaging about six deaths a day over the last week.
Cases: Riverside County was recording an average of 808 cases a day over the last week, triple the figure from mid-October.
Hospitalizations: Riverside County has hit its seventh consecutive daily record for COVID-19 hospitalizations with 687 hospitalized, according to data released Saturday; that’s more than five times worse than early October, when about 135 were hospitalized.
Deaths: Riverside County was averaging about five deaths a day over the last week.
San Bernardino County
Cases: San Bernardino County broke its single-day record for coronavirus cases Saturday, tallying 3,178 cases — the first time the county has surpassed the 3,000 mark.
San Bernardino County was averaging 1,678 coronavirus cases a day over the last week, a figure six times worse than mid-October.
Hospitalizations: Since Thanksgiving, San Bernardino County has broken daily records for hospitalizations for eight of nine days, according to data released Saturday. There were 913 people with COVID-19 in San Bernardino County’s hospitals — that’s five times more than it was in mid-October.
Deaths: San Bernardino County was averaging about seven deaths a day over the last week.
Cases: Ventura County was averaging 497 coronavirus cases a day over the last week, a figure 10 times higher than mid-October, when there were fewer than 50 cases a day on average.
Hospitalizations: Ventura County set a new record for COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to data released Saturday, with 111 people in the hospital with such infections. In early November, there were about 30 COVID-19 patients in hospitals in Ventura County.
Deaths: Ventura County was averaging about two deaths a day over the last week.
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