California Covid-19 Update: New Deaths Hit Near-Record Highs Even As Average Number Of New Cases Drops Slightly

“We are experiencing a modest decline in the rate of growth over the past few days,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom as he addressed the state of the state’s Covid-19 numbers on Wednesday. He then called the 39,069 new cases reported “a modest indication of some possible sign of some good news.” The governor also announced that the 7-day test positivity rate had “declined slightly” from 13.3% to 12.6%

Newsom cautioned about making too much of the gradual decrease in new cases over the past few days. He said those are being seen “mostly outside of the L.A. region.” The governor also announced that Wednesday marked “one of the highest reported death totals since the beginning of the pandemic.

The state recorded 361 Covid-related deaths over the past 24 hours, according to Newsom. That’s second only to the 379 lives lost to the virus on December 16. He said the state had 2.5% State ICU capacity on Monday. Wednesday, it had fallen to 1.1%.

The decline in new cases comes almost exactly two weeks after Newsom announced what became a new lockdown for most of the state’s population. Granted, the lower numbers are dropping from an all-time high for the state — or any state, for that matter — of 53,711 recorded last Wednesday.

Since then, numbers have dropped steadily, from a slight dip to 52,281 on Friday to the much-lower 32,659 recorded on Tuesday. That’s more than a 40% drop in a week and good news to beleaguered Californians.

State and local health officials have often said it would take 2-3 weeks to see the first impact of any new restrictions on daily numbers. Wednesday’s drop seems in accordance with that prediction.

Despite the slight decline in daily new infections, “We have to be careful of what we’re walking into in the next few days, with Christmas and New Year’s,” said the governor, before warning if Californians gather over the holidays, infections could easily go to a place never seem before.

The majority of California’s ICU patients — 54% — had Covid-19 on Wednesday.

“We have experienced this surge on top of a surge from Thanksgiving,” observed Newsom. Going into the holidays, he said, “At peril will be a surge on top of a surge on top of a surge unless we are careful about or travel plans this holiday and our proximity to those from other households.”

If Californians do not practice social distancing and isolation, he said the state would face a very grim new peak in cases “in the middle and latter part of January and February.’

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