All of California’s metrics were moving in the right direction Wednesday as the state continued its efforts to get the COVID-19 pandemic under control, according to data compiled by this news organization.
The average number of daily cases and deaths both declined modestly from Tuesday, while the number of active hospitalizations and patients in intensive care units were at their lowest levels since at least early April. Compared to two weeks ago, there were fewer cases on average each day by about 5%, fewer daily deaths by about 11.5% and fewer active hospitalizations by 22%, according to this news organization’s analysis of data reported by county and state health departments.
Counties around the state reported another 3,324 cases and 110 deaths from the virus Wednesday. The average 3,545 cases per day over the past week was down less than one percentage point from the previous day, about 3% higher than a week ago and about 5% lower than two weeks ago. Compared to its peak, though, California is reporting about one-third the number of cases each day.
With 590 fatalities reported over the past seven days, or an average of about 84 per day, that means there have been fewer in the past week than any since July 9, besting by one the seven-day period that ended Tuesday, when there were 591 total deaths. A week ago, there had been 732 deaths reported over the previous seven days — making for a week-over-week decline of nearly 20%. During its deadliest week of the pandemic, which ended Aug. 6, there was a total of 1,016 deaths from COVID-19 reported around the state.
After a small jump in hospital patients Monday, the California Department of Public Health decreased its count by a net of 15 patients on Tuesday, but it wasn’t enough to reach a recent low set Sunday. The 2,617 active hospitalizations were still 22% fewer than two weeks ago and about one-third of their peak in July. Aside from Sunday, the last time there were fewer patients hospitalized with COVID-19 came April 6.
At no point in records dating back to April 1 have there been fewer patients in ICUs than there were Tuesday, according to data from CDPH. The 783 patients intubated were 16 fewer than the day before, which had broken the previous record, and about 27% fewer than two weeks ago.
Of the 110 statewide fatalities Wednesday, Orange County led all jurisdictions with 26, followed by 22 in Los Angeles County and 13 in San Joaquin County. Sonoma and Sacramento counties each reported six new deaths, while Alameda County added five to its death toll, a day after it reported 16.
Alameda was also one of two Bay Area counties, along with San Francisco, with seven-day positivity rates below 2%, according to analysis by this news organization. San Francisco has consistently reported among the lowest rates in the state, while Alameda’s rate dipped below 2% for the first time about a week ago. Santa Clara, Napa and Contra Costa also reported positivity rates below 5%, which is the threshold to enter the orange reopening tier, when paired with fewer than 4 cases per 100,000 residents per day.
Altogether, there were 429 new cases and 18 deaths reported between the region’s 10 counties, including Santa Cruz, on Wednesday. As a region, the Bay Area is averaging about 7 cases for every 100,000 residents over the past 14 days, which puts it on the edge of the purple tier, indicating the virus is “widespread,” and the red tier, indicating “substantial” spread. Statewide, the rate is about 8.9 per 100,000 over the past two weeks.
However, the tier determinations are made on a county-by-county basis. As of the latest update from the state on Tuesday, 25 counties remained in the purple tier; 19 had moved into the red tier, including most of the Bay Area; 11 were in the orange tier; and three had advanced into the yellow tier.