Coronavirus deaths in California slow as total cases near 34,000

There was a spike in California’s coronavirus cases Monday, but a backlog of tests at one lab in Los Angeles was responsible for most of the increase.

California added more than 2,300 positives to its count Monday, the most new cases in a day since the onset of the outbreak, but nearly 1,200 were from a week’s worth of tests at a single laboratory.

There were 33,823 confirmed cases across the state at the end of Monday, according to data compiled by this news organization. The 7.3% day-over-day growth would represent the steepest single-day increase in nearly two weeks.

Deaths in the state, however, have slowed the past two days. Delays in reporting over the weekend were thought to contribute to Sunday’s low count of 20 new fatalities, but the trend continued Monday, with 46 new fatalities around the state, bringing the overall death toll from the virus to 1,223.

The state experienced its deadliest week yet before the slowdown in recent days, rising nearly 75% since last Monday.

In the Bay Area, the numbers continued to tick up at about the same rate as last week. There were 6,670 confirmed cases in the region, an increase of 253, or about 4%, from the previous day. The death toll rose 6% to 213, fueled mostly by 10 newly reported fatalities in Santa Clara County, which didn’t issue updates over the weekend.

Santa Clara is the Bay Area’s most-populous county, but it still only accounts for about a quarter of its 8 million residents. But, with its death toll rising to 83, it has reported nearly 40% of the region’s fatalities from COVID-19. Santa Clara was also one of the lone hold outs when many Bay Area counties issued mandatory-mask orders last week.

But even the Bay Area’s hardest-hit county has been surpassed in Southern California.

Los Angeles County’s death toll passed 600 as its massive load of new cases pushed its total past 13,000 and close to 14,000. Riverside County has nearly 1,000 more cases than Santa Clara, while it passed Santa Clara last week for the second-most deaths in the state. San Diego County has more cases than Santa Clara but fewer deaths (72), while San Bernardino and Orange counties each have more cases and deaths than any other Bay Area county.

Statewide, the curve is “beginning to flatten, but it is still nonetheless rising,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday.

Hospitalizations ticked back up on Monday, up about 2% from the previous day to 3,257, with 1,196 in intensive care units, also a modest increase from the previous day.

Newsom said the ICU numbers were “bouncing back and forth” each day but that “progress is being made.”