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Coronavirus: California records deadliest day ever; passes 500,000 cases

Coronavirus: California records deadliest day ever; passes
500,000 cases 1

California recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic on Friday with 215 COVID-19 deaths, even as epidemiologists say the state might’ve finally reached a peak in the surge of cases unleashed two months ago when some lockdown restrictions on businesses and gatherings were lifted.

The 215 fatalities on Friday surpass the previous record of 193 deaths set on July 29 and are nearly double the previous day’s seven-day average of 117 fatalities. California counties also reported 8,272 new cases Friday, lower than the seven-day average it started the day with of 8,852 daily cases. It’s also lower than the 9,320 cases it recorded a week ago on July 24. The state has a seven-day testing positivity average of 6.5 percent, lower than the 14-day average of 7.2 percent.

The number of patients in the state hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 declined by 2.4 percent to 7,999 on Thursday, according to data from the California Department of Public Health. The number of patients in intensive care unit beds with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 declined 2.6 percent to 2,163.

Experts said the slow in new cases could mean the state has reached a peak in the current surge, which started in June and July as businesses reopened and residents came together for social gatherings — with and without counties’ approval. That means hospitalization and deaths could begin to slow down later this month, although experts warned the surge in the Central Valley means the state is still in the throes of the pandemic.

Los Angeles County, the largest in the state, also recorded the most new cases, 2,609. That was followed by Kern County with 924 new cases, then San Bernardino County with 542 new cases. That was followed by Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties. Although Southern California still leads the state in overall cases, the epicenter of the pandemic in the state has shifted to more rural counties, where case rates are much higher.

Imperial County has 489 cases for every 10,000 residents, followed by Kings County with 280 cases per 10,000 and Kern County with 209 cases per 10,000. They’re followed by Lassen, Tulare and Marin counties — Marin County has been the site of a massive outbreak at San Quentin State Prison.

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The shift to agricultural counties has exacerbated the disproportionate impact of the virus on the state’s Latinx residents, who make up 39 percent of the population but 57 percent of cases and 46 percent of deaths. In Imperial County, 95 percent of COVID-19 patients with a known race or ethnicity are Hispanic, as are 94 percent of those who have died, according to the county’s public health department. Imperial County is 85 percent Latinx, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

In the Bay Area, Santa Clara County reported the most new cases with 182 cases and one new death, for a total of 9,913 cases and 191 deaths since the start of the pandemic. San Francisco reported 152 new cases and one death for a total of 6,575 cases and 59 deaths.

Contra Costa County reported 93 new cases and three deaths for a total of 7,670 cases and 119 deaths. San Mateo County reported 71 new cases and one death and has a total of 5,469 cases and 119 deaths.

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