California reported its largest number of new coronavirus infections in a single day Tuesday, hospitalizations hit a new high and deaths approached record levels as the state continued to lose ground in its battle against COVID-19.
The 11,142 cases recorded Tuesday were easily the most confirmed in any one day since the pandemic began, surpassing the previous record of 9,816 on July 9, according to data from The Times’ coronavirus tracker.
The state has now reported at least 9,000 new coronavirus cases in a day five times — all since July 7.
Statewide, more than 6,700 patients who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 are hospitalized, according to the latest official data. That, too, is a new high.
Officials also announced 144 additional COVID-19 fatalities Tuesday, the state’s second-highest single-day death toll.
Los Angeles County continues to bear a disproportionate share of the outbreak. Public health officials there confirmed 4,244 new cases and 2,103 hospitalizations Tuesday — both single-day records.
While the mortality rate is stable, the increase in hospitalizations will probably result in increased deaths, the county’s public health director Barbara Ferrer said Monday.
More than 346,000 total coronavirus cases have been confirmed statewide, and over 7,200 Californians have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic reached the Golden State.
Communities of color have been particularly hard hit.
A recent Times analysis of statewide data found that for every 100,000 Latino residents, 767 have tested positive. For every 100,000 Black residents, 396 have tested positive. By comparison, for every 100,000 white residents, 261 have confirmed infections.
The recent surge in infections, hospitalizations and deaths has wiped out the progress the state made in the spring — when officials were optimistic that California had successfully “bent the curve” to the point where it was safe to reopen wide sectors of the economy.
Health officials repeatedly said they anticipated that opening additional businesses and gathering spaces would likely lead to a rise in cases.
However, the virus rebounded with alarming speed and ferocity — forcing the state to pause or roll back many reopenings and pushing some areas to the brink of reimposing the sort of strict stay-at-home orders that, just weeks ago, seemed to be in the rearview mirror.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti has warned that the city is inching closer to another shutdown as dangers posed by the coronavirus continue to loom.
“We made so much progress in March and April,” he said Monday. “There is no question that the pandemic has gotten worse, here in L.A., across California and across this country. … We did the right thing before. And now we have to do the right thing again.”
Amid the continuing surge, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday statewide restrictions Monday to again halt all indoor dining at restaurants and close bars, zoos and museums.
Most counties, including Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange and Riverside, must shutter gyms, houses of worship, hair salons, malls and other businesses under the new order. Offices with nonessential workers in those counties also must close.
“The virus is not going away anytime soon,” Newsom said.
California’s backslide from seeming success story to cautionary tale is reflected in the state’s monitoring list of counties that are experiencing elevated disease transmission and/or hospitalizations. As of Wednesday, most of California’s 58 counties were on the list.
Officials have reported that outbreaks at indoor work settings and factories as well as private gatherings are major drivers of the state’s recent surge.
At the same time, high demand and a shortage of supplies are making it more difficult for Californians to get tested for coronavirus infection. Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said Tuesday that the state is working on new guidelines for testing to ensure that the most vulnerable have prioritized access.
“Although we want to maintain access for the general population to testing, focusing first on those whose clinical course or community can really benefit from this more targeted testing approach — not as an exclusive but as an initial priority group — is very important for us. Especially during this time where transmission is high and turnaround times have increased,” he said.
Times staff writers Ben Welsh, Stephanie Lai, Rong-Gong Lin II , Howard Blume, Melody Gutierrez, Hannah Fry and Maura Dolan contributed to this report.