California and Florida hit new record for average daily coronavirus cases as U.S. hospitalizations surge

A worker dressed in personal protective equipment (PPE) passes a biohazard bag containing a self-administered COVID-19 test to a man at a testing center at Lincoln Park amid the coronavirus pandemic on July 07, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.

Mario Tama | Getty Images

California and Florida were among 12 states that hit a record-high, seven-day average for daily new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

California had 7,697 new coronavirus cases based on a seven-day moving average, which is more than 26% higher compared with a week ago, according to the analysis. Florida’s seven-day average of daily new cases stood at 9,255 as of Wednesday — a nearly 30% jump since last week. 

Florida also saw a spike in the percentage of positive Covid-19 tests at 18.4% on Wednesday, after Vice President Mike Pence said the state’s so-called positivity rate was “flattening.”

Other states that also hit record highs in average daily new cases on Wednesday include Georgia, Ohio and Utah. 

Nationally, coronavirus cases were growing in 40 states, as of Wednesday, based on a seven-day moving average, according to the CNBC analysis. Cases across the U.S. grew by more than 20% compared with one week ago, according to Johns Hopkins data. 

CNBC calculates its daily Covid-19 cases based on an average over the previous seven days to eliminate fluctuations in daily reporting. The number of cases may have been underreported by local health departments over the Fourth of July weekend and could be reported later in some states, according to Hopkins. 

The number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 also grew by 5% or more Wednesday in 25 states, based on a seven-day moving average, according to data compiled by the Covid Tracking Project. 

Of the 25 states, 13 hit record highs in average hospitalizations. They include Arizona, California, South Carolina and Texas. Florida only tracks the number of people who have been hospitalized since the beginning of the outbreak, not those currently in the hospital with Covid-19, according to the Covid Tracking Project. 

Hospitalization numbers are closely watched by public health officials because it can indicate how severe an outbreak is in an area. It is often considered a reliable measure than new case numbers as it is unaffected by the availability of testing. 

On Wednesday, Texas reported 9,610 people hospitalized with the coronaivrus, surging nearly 46% compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by the Covid Tracking Project. 

Hospitals in at least two Texas counties that border Mexico, Starr and Hidalgo, are operating at full capacity and local officials are urging residents there to shelter in place and avoid gatherings, according to local officials. 

Houston’s hospitals are on track to be overwhelmed in approximately two weeks as cases mount, Mayor Sylvester Turner said on CBS’ “Face The Nation” on Sunday.

“The number of people who are getting sick and going to the hospitals has exponentially increased. The number of people in our ICU beds has exponentially increased,” Turner said. “In fact, if we don’t get our hands around this virus quickly, in about two weeks our hospital system could be in serious, serious trouble.”

California is also seeing an alarming surge in the number of hospitalized patients due to Covid-19. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a press conference Wednesday that over the last two weeks, the state has seen a 44% increase in hospitalizations and 34% increase in intensive care unit (ICU) admissions.

As California prepares for a spike in coronavirus patients, it added three new counties to a list of 26 counties it’s monitoring for potential outbreaks. That list has grown from 19 counties about a week ago, according to Newsom.

While the golden state struggles to curb the spread of infection, Newsom said California now has the hospital capacity to treat 50,000 Covid-19 patients. 

Newsom said California is more ready and prepared to manage a surge in hospitalized patients now than it was at the beginning of the outbreak in March. It has built alternate care sites, such as Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, established new hospital capacity at the Seton Medical Center in Daly and deployed federal medical stations, according to Newsom.

He also said California’s personal protective equipment inventory has grown tremendously since March. The state has 232 million procedure masks and 46 million N95 masks in stock. 

“We’re still in the process of procuring more masks but we’ve never been better positioned,” the governor said.

— CNBC’s Noah Higgins-Dunn and Tucker Higgins contributed to this report. 

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