The Ukiah Daily Journal

California’s positivity rate hits an all-time low

- By Evan Webeck

California’s cases and deaths from COVID-19 rose slightly on the first day of March, compared to the week before, which increased the state’s daily average for each figure, however both remained well below highs set in January.

County health department­s across the state totaled 4,959 new cases of COVID-19 and 296 fatalities from the virus, according to data compiled by The Mercury News.

The state’s respective averages rose to approximat­ely 5,200 cases and 299 deaths per day over the past week, slight jumps from a day ago but still 35% fewer casesand20%fewerdeath­s than two weeks ago (excluding a backlog from Dec. 3-Feb. 3 reported this week in Los Angeles County).

At 2.3%, the rate of tests to come back positive in California over the past week reached a record low for any point of the pandemic. In the past two weeks, the state’s positivity rate has fallen from 3.7%; from its January high, it has fallen from more than 14%.

The number of California­ns hospitaliz­ed with COVID-19 fell below 5,000 on Sunday for the first time since the week prior to Thanksgivi­ng. Hospitaliz­ations have fallen 44% in the past two weeks and been slashed by more than threequart­ers from the height of the surge in January.

Following continued widespread improvemen­t, there was expected to be more movement in California’s tiered reopening system Tuesday, with San Francisco and Santa Clara counties as leading candidates to join neighborin­g San Mateo and Marin counties in the red tier.

Over the course of the pandemic, no Bay Area county ranks among the top 30 in the state in per-capita infections or in the top 20 in per-capita fatalities.

On Monday, four locales reported at least 100 cases, including San Francisco, which also led the region by adding 10 to its death toll. It reported 100 cases to bring its total to 34,070, the seventh-fewest per-capita in the state.

San Mateo County reported 102 new cases to bring its total to 38,831, a per-capita rate lower than 44 other counties.

Alameda County reported 109 new cases to bring its total to 80,777, a per-capita rate lower than all but 13 counties. And Santa Clara County led the region with 134 new cases to bring its total to 110,755, a per-capita rate lower than 35 other counties.

Santa Clara County also added two to its death toll, which rose to 1,781, the most in the region but fewer than 23 other counties on a percapita basis. Only 12 counties have recorded fewer deaths per-capita than San Francisco, which has a lower per-capita death rate than any county in the region except Solano.

Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley dominated the death toll Monday.

The state’s 296 fatalities were led by 66 in San Bernardino County, 42 in Imperial County and 32 in Los Angeles County, followed by 26 in Kern County and 25 in San Joaquin County. Riverside County also reported 25 new fatalities. Los Angeles County has recorded the most fatalities of any county in the nation, climbing to 21,467 on Monday. Statewide, it is followed by 3,921 in Orange County, 3,792 in Riverside County, 3,303 in San Diego County and 2,940 in San Bernardino County.

That collection of five Southern California counties have accounted for two in every three of all the deaths in California over the course of the pandemic, despite being home to just over half of the state’s population.

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