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California Equals 2nd Worst Day In COVID-19 Deaths; New Cases Surging Across State

SACRAMENTO (CBS SF/AP) — California has reported its second-highest daily total of new coronavirus cases and equaled its second worst day for deaths as a wave of new cases continued to build across the state.

More than 11,000 new cases were recorded by state officials Tuesday, a rise of 3.3%. California also recorded 140 deaths, tying a recent tally for its second-highest daily figure.

The number of tests and the rate of those testing positive also rose. The positivity rate over the past two weeks has now topped 7%, while in hard-hit Los Angeles County with a quarter of California's population that rate has soared to nearly 10%.

Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Wednesday that Los Angeles County is in "an alarming and dangerous phase" that could overwhelm intensive care units and prompt sweeping closure orders if not reversed.

Meanwhile, San Francisco Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax sounded alarm bells about trends he was seeing.

As of Wednesday morning, San Francisco had recorded 4,696 cases of COVID-19 during the outbreak that began in March and there have been 50 deaths.

One of the key indicators of COVID-19 prevalence in the city -- the number of new cases per day per 100,000 people -- has risen to 7.7. That is well above the goal of 1.8 and a sharp rise since reopening began on May 18 when it was 3.5.

The rate of increase in hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients, which does not include transfer patients from other counties, is also a key indicator.

The city health officials goal is to keep that rate below 10%. On Wednesday that indicator showed an increase of 33%.

San Francoisco's hospital capacity, which includes the percentage of acute care and ICU beds that are available, is currently within the acceptable range at 27% for acute care beds and 28% for ICU.

"If our current surge continues, San Francisco hospitals could be overwhelmed in a few months, with 10 times as many cases as we saw in the April surge," Colfax warned. "We crushed that curve, and we can do it again if we redouble our commitment to the safety measures we know work: staying home whenever possible, staying physically distant whenever we go out, consistently wearing face coverings and frequently washing our hands. Let's take care of each other and our City so we can be healthy and begin to reopen again."

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