California’s average daily number of coronavirus cases has tripled in the last month, a Times analysis has found, as pandemic conditions deteriorated dramatically around the state.
The coronavirus is now infecting more Californians daily than at any previous point in the COVID-19 pandemic, raising concerns about a new peak in coronavirus-related deaths by Christmas.
As of Saturday night, California was averaging more than 11,500 new coronavirus cases a day over the last seven days, more than triple the number a month earlier, on Oct. 21, which was nearly 3,200, according to a Times analysis.
Even during the summertime surge, which led to the season with California’s worst COVID-19 death toll, the average daily number of coronavirus cases over a seven-day period never exceeded 10,000.
COVID-19 hospitalizations have doubled in the last month, the analysis found. And COVID-19 deaths have suddenly begun to climb in recent days. In the last week, an average of 65 Californian deaths have been reported daily, a more than 50% increase from two weeks ago, when 43 fatalities were reported daily on average.
The rate at which Californians are testing positive for the coronavirus was up dramatically in the last week — a troubling indication of the rapid spread of the highly contagious virus. On Saturday, the coronavirus positivity rate hit 6.1%, double the percentage it was on Nov. 1, when the rate was 2.98%.
On Saturday, San Diego and San Bernardino counties both recorded their highest single-day coronavirus case totals in the history of the pandemic, according to health officials.
Los Angeles County is now on pace to cross a grim marker that would require outdoor restaurant dining areas to shut down as early as this week. According to a Times analysis, as of Saturday night, L.A. County was averaging 3,907 cases a day over the last five days, roughly double the number from just two weeks ago.
Saturday continued a disturbing trend of daily case counts surpassing 4,000. On Saturday, 4,387 coronavirus cases were reported, according to an independent Times tally of coronavirus cases; on Friday, 4,158 were reported; and on Thursday, 4,943 were tallied, a single-day record.
If L.A. County averages 4,000 cases daily over a five-day period, officials have said they will plan to require the closure of outdoor restaurant dining areas, which would restrict eateries to serving food only by takeout and delivery for the first time since May. Officials said they plan to give three days’ notice before such a new health order would become effective.
And should L.A. County average 4,500 cases daily over a five-day period, officials have warned that they will impose a springtime style stay-at-home order.
Daily deaths are also starting to climb in L.A. County. On Saturday, an average of 23 deaths a day were reported in Los Angeles County from COVID-19 over the previous seven days; that’s double the figure from early November, when about 11 people were dying a day.
There are a number of reasons for the sudden increase in coronavirus cases in California, where a surge began in late October.
They include the colder weather, which encourages people to stay…