A Los Angeles woman takes a free PCR COVID-19 test.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
Health & Wellness

Growing signs Omicron is leveling off in California

While California continues to see disturbing rises in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, there are some early signs the Omicron wave is slowing.

While California continues to see disturbing rises in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, there are some early signs the unprecedented Omicron wave is slowing.

The shift is uneven across the state, but the numbers suggest California could be reaching a crest in the latest surge. States on the East Coast that were hit earlier by the Omicron wave have already started to see a sustained decline in infections.

California has recorded more than 7 million coronavirus cases as of this week. The tally, recorded in the state’s databases late Monday, comes one week after it recorded its 6 millionth coronavirus case.

Here are what the numbers show:

Cases still high but leveling

The exponential growth in California’s case rate appears to be leveling off, although it probably will take a few days — following any reporting backlog from the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend — to be sure.

According to data released Tuesday that reflect numbers through Monday, California was averaging 104,000 cases a day for the most recent seven-day period, slightly above the prior week’s rate of 101,000; the week before, the state was reporting 55,000 cases a day. California’s case rate reached a high of more than 115,000 cases a day in the middle of last week, and fluctuated between 114,000 and 115,000 for a few days.

Santa Cruz and Bay Area

As of Tuesday, Santa Cruz County had 5,921 known cases, up from 4,060 late last week; two more county residents have died in the past week, bringing the pandemic total to 27.

Meanwhile, the Bay Area is now averaging about 19,000 coronavirus cases a day, a rate that has fluctuated between 18,000 and 22,000 for roughly the past week. The Greater Sacramento area recorded about 5,500 cases a day for the most recent weekly period. The capital region has been fluctuating between 5,000 and 6,000 cases recently.

In Santa Clara County, coronavirus levels in wastewater started declining about 1 1/2 weeks ago. Officials expect the dip will presage a sustained decline in coronavirus cases.

Positive COVID-19 test rate declining

The rate at which California’s coronavirus tests are coming back positive has also started to decline. For the seven-day period that ended Jan. 10, California hit a record positive test rate of 23.1%. Since then, the rate fell to 21.5% for the seven-day period that ended Saturday. The rate is still very high; by comparison, in early December, it was around 2%.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.