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Coronavirus cases surge in California

Mike Stucka
USA TODAY NETWORK
People wait in their cars to be tested for the coronavirus with drive-up rapid testing at the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Oct. 23, 2020.

New coronavirus cases leaped in California in the week ending Saturday, rising 44.3% as 53,705 cases were reported. The previous week had 37,219 new cases.

California ranked No. 46 among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the latest week the United States added 1,017,810 reported cases of coronavirus, an increase of 33.3% from the week before. Across the country, 48 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.

Within California, the worst weekly outbreaks on a per-person basis were in Mono, Lassen and Alpine counties. Adding the most new cases overall were Los Angeles County, with 16,572 cases; San Bernardino County, with 5,673 cases; and San Diego County, with 4,025. Weekly case counts rose in 51 counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week's pace were in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and San Diego counties.

>> See how your community has fared with recent coronavirus cases

The share of California test results that came back positive was 4.6% in the latest week, compared with 3.6% in the week before, a USA TODAY Network analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows. In the latest week, 1,106,445 tests were administered; a week earlier, that figure was 962,834.Experts say it is important to look at the share of tests that come back positive, not just case counts, to get a better idea of whether the rate of new infections is changing or if differences in testing are playing a role.

The World Health Organization says places should be conducting enough tests to have fewer than 5% coming back positive. Places where the percentage is higher could struggle to complete contact tracing soon enough to prevent spread of the virus.

Across California, cases fell in seven counties, with the best declines in Sonoma, Alpine and Mono counties.

In the state, 292 people died in the latest week. In the previous week, 302 people died.

A total of 1,023,067 people in California have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 18,253 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 10,903,890 people have tested positive and 245,598 people have died.