In total, there were 6,522 positive tests reported around the state Monday, more than 2,000 cases higher than the previous daily record. With it, the seven-day average climbed above 4,000 for the first time since the outbreak began and the total number of cases statewide stood at 184,278, according to data compiled by this news organization.
The number of deaths per day and hospitalized patients, however, has remained flat for weeks, down from their peaks in mid-April. That is beginning to change, as hospitalization levels creep back up. Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday that hospitalizations had increased 16% in the past two weeks.
Just as new positive tests today reflect cases that could have been contracted weeks ago — because of the virus’ incubation period and the time to get tested and receive a result — hospitalization and deaths are also believed to be a lagging indicator.
There were 53 more fatalities across the state Monday, raising the death toll to 5,562. That is fewer than the seven-day average of 64 and well below the daily mark set in mid-May, but it is a steep increase over the past two Mondays, which typically reflect delays in reporting over the weekend.
Some officials had pointed to continued increases in testing to explain the rise in cases, but that alone can no longer explain the spike, said the director of public health in Los Angeles County.
“Today marks the third day in a week that we have reported 2,000 or more cases of COVID-19,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer said in a statement Monday. “And while some of the increases are due to test reporting issues, it is clear that much of the increase represents more community transmission.”
Los Angeles, long the state’s largest coronavirus hotspot, shattered its daily record of new cases, with 2,545 on Monday. The nation’s most-populous county was not alone. Of the state’s 58 counties, 13 reported record numbers of new cases to begin this week. Riverside County reported more than 1,000 new cases for the first time. There were 267 in Sacramento County; 240 in Fresno; 202 in Alameda; 127 in San Francisco; 104 in San Mateo; 66 in Monterey; 38 in San Luis Obispo; 32 in Sonoma; 19 in Tehama; 17 in Butte; 17 in Sutter; and 15 in El Dorado. A number of other counties, including Contra Costa, were shy of daily records set last week but had their seven-day averages climb to record highs Monday.
In the Bay Area, the new cases pushed the region’s cumulative total over 20,000 since the start of the outbreak, less than a quarter of the caseload in Los Angeles County.The rapid spread across the state — as well as many others across the country — comes in the weeks following Memorial Day Weekend as well as mass protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd. More and more businesses also continue to reopen as restrictions loosen.
The concerning rise prompted Newsom to implore Californians to continue wearing masks, which have been shown to be effective at mitigating spread of the virus.
“Those that suggest we’re out of the woods, those that suggest this somehow is going to disappear, these numbers tell a very, very different and sobering story,” the governor said Monday.