Coronavirus: Deaths up, hospitalizations down in California amid case data disaster

California reported 186 deaths from COVID-19 on Friday, the fourth-deadliest day on record, the same day officials announced Gov. Gavin Newsom had ordered an investigation into errors that led to a backlog of up to 300,000 lab records in the state’s coronavirus tracking system.

The state entered Friday with a seven-day average of 145 daily deaths. Since July 29, the state has reported the four deadliest days of the pandemic, including 215 deaths on July 31 and 197 deaths on Aug. 4. The 186 deaths Friday bring the state total to 10,210 COVID-19 fatalities. California counties also reported 7,944 new cases for a total of 549,153 cases, although problems with the state’s reporting system mean those are an underreporting of daily positive cases.

The state crossed the 10,000 death mark on Thursday, likely making the virus the seventh leading cause of death in the state, ahead of diabetes, influenza plus pneumonia, and hypertension, according to 2018 mortality data from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Los Angeles County reported the most COVID-19 deaths, 49, followed by Riverside County with 29 deaths and San Joaquin County with 19 deaths. Fresno, Stanislaus and Kern counties followed with the most new deaths, as the virus has moved to the more rural parts of the state where it has hit hard the state’s largely Latinx agricultural workforce.

Latinx residents make up about 36.3 percent of California’s 18 and older population and 46.8 percent of deaths in that age category. Black residents make up 6.1 percent of 18 and older Californians and 8.4 percent of deaths. Only one person under 18 has died of COVID-19 in the state.

On Thursday the state also reported a 2.8 percent decrease in the number of patients hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, to 7,277 patients. There was also a 2.4 percent decline in the number of patients in intensive care units with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, to 1,978.

Alameda and Santa Clara counties both had 175 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, followed by 98 in Contra Costa County, 85 in San Francisco and 45 in San Mateo County.

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