California saw its deadliest month of the coronavirus pandemic in August, with 3,745 deaths recorded, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The total represented an 18 percent increase from July, according to a Times analysis. California has the most cases of any state, with 700,000, but is 21st in the nation when adjusting for population.
Despite the record number of deaths, the state has improved on several measures. Infection and hospitalization rates have both steadily declined for over a month, according to the Times, while average daily death numbers are also down. Officials predict that fatalities will continue the downward trend if residents wear masks and adhere to social distancing.
Hospitalizations are down from their peak in late July, when 7,170 patients were hospitalized in California. The rate fell 45 percent in August, according to the Times. The total during the last week in August, 3,940, was the lowest since June.
The seven-day death average also hit its lowest point of August in the week’s final month, according to the Times's analysis, with an average of 112 deaths per day. That number is 14 percent lower than the previous week.
Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomCalifornia governor signs legislation targeting Amazon warehouse speed quotas Newsom signs privacy laws for abortion providers and patients Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — Senate Finance chair backs budget action on fossil fuel subsidies MORE (D) has announced a new strategy for reopening businesses in the state. The plan will include allowing some businesses to reopen statewide regardless of transmission levels in their areas. Barbershops and hair salons will be permitted to reopen, along with retailers and malls at 25 percent capacity, according to the Times. The state previously reimposed numerous shutdown measures after initial reopenings led to a spike in cases.
Under Newsom’s new plan, counties fall into one of four categories for their progress in combating the virus. The majority of the state, including Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, are grouped under Tier 1, those with the most restrictive protocols.