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

"We are seeing a slight decline in the growth rate in the past few days," California Governor Gavin Newsom said as he looked at the state's Covid-19 numbers on Wednesday. He then named the 39,069 new cases, which were "a humble indication of a possible sign of good news". The governor also announced that the 7-day test positivity rate had "dropped slightly" from 13.3% to 12.6%.
Newsom warned against taking too much advantage of the gradual decline in new cases over the past few days. He said these are seen "mostly outside of the LA region". The governor also announced that Wednesday was "one of the highest reported death toll since the pandemic began."
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According to Newsom, the state has recorded 361 Covid-related deaths in the past 24 hours. This is the second most important after the 379 deaths lost to the virus on December 16. He said the state had an intensive care unit capacity of 2.5% on Monday. Wednesday it had fallen to 1.1%.
The drop in new cases came almost exactly two weeks after Newsom announced a new lockdown for most of the state's population. Granted, the lower numbers drop from an all-time high for the state - or for any state - of 53,711 recorded last Wednesday.
Since then, the numbers have steadily declined, from a slight drop to 52,281 on Friday to the much lower 32,659 on Tuesday. That's a drop of more than 40% in a week, and good news for the distressed Californians.
State and local health officials have often said it would take 2-3 weeks for the first effects of new restrictions to become apparent on daily numbers. Wednesday's decline appears to be in line with that prediction.
Despite the slight decline in new infections every day, "We have to be careful about what we see over the next few days with Christmas and New Years," the governor said before warning that if Californians congregate over the holidays, infections could be easy too go to a place that never seemed before.
The majority of ICU patients in California - 54% - had Covid-19 on Wednesday.
"We saw that spike on top of an increase from Thanksgiving," noted Newsom. When he went on vacation, he said, "A rise above a rise will be in danger of a rise unless we pay attention to this holiday and plan it and our proximity to those from other households."
If Californians didn't practice social distancing and isolation, the state would hit a very dismal new high in "mid and late January and February" cases.
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