Latest coronavirus news
How many people are hospitalized?
Hospitalization trends in California and the Bay Area have declined substantially since the peak of the summer surge. COVID patient numbers across California dropped in mid-August below 4,000 for the first time since July 5, and appeared to be flattening out a bit with more than 3,800 patients in California hospitals with COVID as of Aug. 16.
Due to limited testing capacity, not all hospitalized patients with COVID-19 symptoms have been tested. While not all suspected cases will ultimately test positive, including these patients may give a more comprehensive picture of the demands on hospitals.
What are the current trends in California?
The summer coronavirus surge in California, driven largely by the BA.5 strain of the omicron variant, peaked in July. Case rates have been dropping since then, with Bay Area numbers in mid-August reaching the lowest level since late May. While down by more than half from the start of July, the 7-day average for Bay Area new infections, at 24 per 100,000 people, remained above the ratio of fewer than 5 new cases per 100,000 that the CDC considers a safe level of community transmission. In another sign of emergence from the summer wave, the state's percent of coronavirus tests coming back positive has fallen from the July peak of 16%, sliding to a 7-day average of just over 11% by the third week of August, state data indicates.
What is the status of testing in California?
The volume of reported tests ramped up as the omicron variant took hold. Home tests , most of which are not included in these numbers, are being recommended in hopes that people who test positive will stay home and isolate. Free home tests are being offered on the White House website. Before vaccines were widely available, the World Health Organization had established a recommended positivity rate of 5% for reopening.
Total cases and deaths in the U.S.
The U.S. has the highest reported total COVID-19 cases of any country. California has the highest totals in the nation in terms of cases and deaths, but on a per-capita basis, the number of cases and deaths are below the national average.
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About the data
Update: Cases and deaths data come from files released by the California Department of Public Health, collected from 61 county and city health departments statewide.
Before September 2021, The Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times led a data collection partnership of California media organizations, including the San Diego Union-Tribune, KQED, KPCC, CapRadio, Calmatters and Big Local News at Stanford University. Starting Sept. 3, 2021, the California Data Coalition switched its source for county virus data to counts released the California Department of Public Health. A one-time change in charts and totals occurred on the date of that change.
Data collection at the outset of the pandemic was completed manually, four times each day. This count was able to collect figures far ahead of any state-led tally. Once the state’s data improved, the coalition moved to end its own collection. The source update on Sept. 3 resulted in a one-time change to charts and figures on this page. Questions can be sent to our team here .
Findings signal earlier start to U.S. outbreak: An autopsy report showing that the first death linked to COVID-19 happened Feb. 6 in Santa Clara County and not Feb. 26 in Washington supports research indicating that the outbreak began in the United States much earlier than we knew and before health officials began tracking data.
There were 300 cases reported in the Bay Area when shelter-in-place orders were put in place on March 16. But studies and disease models suggest that more than 10,000 people in the Bay Area likely were infected by then. That research, along with the earlier death identified in Santa Clara County, indicates how far behind the U.S. was in recognizing the outbreak of the virus.