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California has a record low COVID-19 positivity rate

As the Golden State faces a triple threat of respiratory risks – destructive forest fires, toxic air quality and a deadly pandemic – there is a faint glimmer of hope.

Over the past seven days, only 3.5% of COVID-19 tests in California returned positive, the lowest rate since the state began reporting the data in late March. One month ago, the positive test rate was almost twice as high.

The number of newly confirmed cases has dropped to its lowest level since mid-June, according to a Times analysis of state data. Admissions for COVID-1

9 have dropped to their lowest levels since early April with 2,869 patients in hospital beds on Saturday.

These positive signs come as California reduces the processing time for coronavirus tests. Dr. Erica Pan, the acting state public health officer, said last week that laboratories now produce test results averaging 1.3 days.

The data has made officials feel cautiously optimistic about California’s progress toward the pandemic as the state approaches the end of the sixth month with orders to stay home. They urged residents to be mindful and continue to take the precautions that work: wearing face masks in public, observing social distance with someone outside the nearest household, and staying home whenever possible.

Officials said there are two factors that could ruin the frequency of positive tests: a drop in tests during forest fires and long-standing questions about whether Labor Day gatherings caused an increase in transmissions.

It can take up to two weeks for the COVID-19 virus to incubate in the human body. California saw an increase in cases, hospitalizations and deaths after the Memorial Day weekend, which included holiday gatherings, graduation parties, massive protests over police brutality and the reopening of bars, which were later closed again.

Health officials are “very eager to find out” whether gatherings, parties and other activities over the past three-day weekend, which ended a week ago, will lead to a new increase in cases, “which then leads to more hospitalizations and even more deaths, ”said Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

“We are actually somewhat challenged to get good data because we have both had extreme heat and we have had the fires that have created unhealthy air conditions,” Ferrer continued. “What unfortunately led to is much less testing.”

Ash and smoke from the Bobcat fire were so strong that LA County was forced to temporarily close some test sites in the San Gabriel Valley. But, Ferrer said, the vast majority of test centers are open. She urged residents to be tested if they have experienced COVID-19 symptoms or have been associated with someone who has, including at a workplace or at home.

Southern California officials are keeping an eye on interest and caution as San Diego and Orange counties are slowly beginning to reopen indoor businesses. Both counties have received approval from the state to reopen restaurant dining rooms, museums, cinemas and places of worship at 25% capacity.

Last week, Los Angeles County reported 9.6 transmissions per. 100,000 inhabitants. This rate should fall below 7 per. 100,000 for two consecutive weeks before Newsom allows restaurants, theaters and other non-essential businesses to reopen.

So far, no school campus in LA County is allowed to reopen to all K-12 students until at least November. Schools will, however, be able to offer personal classes for children with special needs, provided that the occupancy on campus does not exceed 10% of the student body.

Public health officials have received 59 applications from individual schools to reopen for “students who cannot be served virtually,” Ferrer said.

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