On Wednesday, California Hospital Association President and CEO Carmela Coyle offered a grim update from the medical community. “We’re preparing to surge,” she said. And with good reason.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom then announced a mind-boggling number of new coronavirus cases in the state. Over the previous 24 hours, California saw 11,694 new cases, which includes a backlog of cases from Los Angeles County.
Testing backlogs have spiked the state’s daily new-case numbers before, but Wednesday’s number so far exceeds the state’s previous all-time high of 7,149 reported on June 24 that it cannot be ignored.
For a more measured idea of where the state is, the seven-day average of daily cases provides some perspective. California has averaged 8,116 new cases in the past week, which in itself exceeds the previous daily record.
Furthermore, the state has seen a 7.1% positivity rate over 14 days, according to the governor. “That 7% can spike,” warned Newsom. “[It] can quickly turn into the 20-plus range.”
Hospitalizations have spiked 44% over a two-week period. The state now has 41,000 beds out of 75,000 occupied. About 18% of those cases are COVID-19-related.
Likewise, ICU admissions are at a 34% increase, with 15% of those beds occupied by coronavirus patients.
Newsom prefaced the eye-popping number of new cases with an overview of preparedness measures the state has taken over the past two months, doubtless to quell the panic that that number might incite.
The state’s hospital system remains ready, said the governor to the surge. He said that there is a surge capacity of “warm beds” at alternative locations that can be made ready “within a 72-hour prism.” That equals 20% of the current total.
The state is “looking in every nook and cranny in California for places we can put COVID-19 patients,” he said.
“We’re doing this because we’re continuing to see hospital rates grow because people are not wearing their masks,” said the governor. “People are mixing.”
On June 25, Newsom reported that 25% of the state’s total coronavirus cases had happened in the past 2 weeks.
Less than two weeks after the governor made that announcement, things have gotten even worse.
On Tuesday, state tracking data indicated that over one third of the region’s total COVID cases have been identified in the past 14 days. California has seen 94,701 new cases since June 23. The total number of positive coronavirus tests in the state is now 277,774. That means the increase over this two-week period is 34%.