For the second consecutive day Thursday, California’s death toll from the COVID-19 outbreak swelled by more than 10%. In 48 hours, it has grown by 25%.
There were 92 new deaths reported in the state Thursday — nearly matching the daily high of 103 that came Wednesday — and if it continues on that pace Friday, the death toll will climb past 1,000. There had been 970 fatalities from COVID-19 and 28,035 confirmed cases as of Thursday evening, according to data compiled by this news organization.
The uptick in fatalities came as the number of new cases slowed and hospitalizations began to decline for the first time. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that the state will need to see downtrends in deaths, hospitalizations and patients requiring intensive care units before it begins to reopen.
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There were 3,141 patients in hospital beds Thursday, a 0.9% decrease from the previous day, but the number in ICU increased by 1.4% to 1,191.
California reported its lowest day-over-day growth, 3.7%, since the onset of the outbreak.
The state also made another significant dent in its persisting backlog of coronavirus tests, even as it ramps up testing capacity. It once had as many as 64,000 pending tests. On Wednesday, labs in the state conducted more than 18,000 tests, bringing the total to more than 246,400 tests. Only 7,200 remain pending, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous day.
Newsom has said the state must increase testing “exponentially” and hopes to be able to conduct 25,000 per day by the end of the month.