There are more new cases of COVID-19 in California than at any other point in the pandemic, and hospitalization levels are at their highest point since the outbreak began.
Before this week, California had experienced two days during the COVID-19 pandemic with 4,000 or more new cases across the state. After breaking the daily record on Monday, the state approached that number again on Tuesday, more than 13,000 new cases in the past two days, according to data compiled by this news organization.
County health departments reported another 6,498 recently confirmed cases Tuesday, just below the daily record set the day before, including 656 in the 10 Bay Area counties. Santa Clara County (121) recorded a record number of new cases the day after Alameda County set its daily mark with 202 new cases on Monday; reported another 133 on Tuesday.
New cases arise as the state’s testing capacity continues to increase. Labs across the state performed 559,000 tests last week, 19% more than the week before. Testing has accelerated at that rate for weeks.
Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County’s director of public health, called the increase in new cases “troubling” and said the county would not request a local variance to reopen its economy further.
It was the second largest case in the Bay Area since the start of the outbreak, just below Monday’s total, but only one fatality was reported in the region. Statewide, another 78 people succumbed to the virus, an increase from Monday and the seven-day average, but less than the total deaths reported on the previous three Tuesdays.
“This is far from over,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, the state’s director of public health, in a statement Tuesday. “Increased testing will continue to detect more cases, but this only serves as evidence that COVID-19 is in our communities. As we go further, we are at greater risk. Continued increases are expected in COVID-19 cases and similarly, hospitalizations are starting to increase. “
Ten days ago, on June 14, there were 3,103 hospitalized patients statewide with the virus. By Monday 22, the most recent day for which data was available, that number had risen to 3,868, an increase of 25% in just over a week.
Although the Bay Area is experiencing the worst stretch of detected cases, the increase in hospitalizations occurred primarily in Southern California. Over that time period, Los Angeles County hospitalization levels have increased 21%, while neighboring San Bernardino and Orange counties have increased 46% and 17%, respectively. Riverside County, east of Orange County, has added 88 more patients to the hospital, an increase of 39%.
The Bay Area, including Santa Cruz County, has fewer hospitalized patients than any of those four individual counties, but that number continues to rise. As of Monday, there were 264 hospitalized patients, most of the region since May 18, when there were 265 patients in hospital beds.
The increase in California occurs when many other states are experiencing spikes in new cases and hospitalizations. The United States reported its third highest number of cases since the outbreak began: 34,700 new cases on Tuesday were the most since two days in April, according to Johns Hopkins University. Arizona, Mississippi, Arizona, Nevada and Texas also reported new highs in confirmed cases on Tuesday.