California's coronavirus cases were at their highest levels in months, with the "sobering" numbers possibly leading to the delay of reopening the economy in some counties, state Governor Gavin Newsom has warned. On Monday, the state reported 7,212 new Covid-19 cases and 14 fatalities, Xinhua news agency quoted the state's updated coronavirus dashboard as saying.
The new figures pushed the 14-day average of the state's Covid-19 positivity rate from 2.5 per cent on October 15 to above 3.7 per cent.
California has not seen the even more dramatic surges other states have been experiencing but the new figures are still troubling, Newsom said at an online press conference on Monday, as the 14-day average of hospitalizations was up to 28.6 per cent and the number of coronavirus-related ICU patients was up 27 per cent over the same 14-day timeframe.
Meanwhile, California is nearing two grim milestones of 1 million cases and 18,000 deaths, Newsom warned, adding that the increases could be tied to Halloween celebrations on October 31. Local authorities have taken measures to contain the latest surge. San Francisco Bay Area health officials have expanded a recommendation asking residents outside of the region to self-quarantine when they return.
Health officials of 10 Bay Area counties and the city of Berkeley also urged in a joint statement for people who insist on gathering for the holidays to keep their visits outdoors, as well as no longer than two hours and no more than three households.
Newsom also predicted that the state would see "a mass distribution" of the vaccines starting April", after first responders such as healthcare workers, police and firefighters are vaccinated. "We likely still have to face the worst months of the pandemic before most of us have access to a vaccine," he added.