California hospitalizations fall below 5,000 for first time since June

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For six weeks, not a day went by without at least 5,000 patients around California hospitalized with COVID-19. The active hospitalization count climbed higher than 7,100 in mid-July. On Sunday, the streak was broken.

The 4,975 patients hospitalized Sunday, the most recent day for which data was available, were the fewest since June 28 — also the last time the number of active hospitalizations across the state was below 5,000, according to data compiled by this news organization.

The decline has been driven in large part by Los Angeles County and surrounding Southern California, the largest population center in the state and also one of the areas earliest and hardest-hit by the virus, while the Bay Area, which has largely avoid the worst of the virus, has seen a slight uptick in the past week.

Both regions, as well as the state, reported record levels of hospitalizations during the third week of July. Since then, LA has shed nearly 900 patients to lower its count to 1,352 on Sunday — a 40% decrease. Other Southern California counties have seen a commensurate decrease, also down about 40% from a mid-July peak. The Bay Area, meanwhile, had cut its hospitalizations by nearly 20% from their peak, but rather than continue that decline, the region has added a net of 50 patients in the past eight days.

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