L.A. County nears state’s safety threshold for virus cases.

California continues to see a surge in COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations in hotspot counties, while some areas have seen signs of stability over the last week. But as July nears its end, it’s unclear in which direction the state as a whole will veer.

Los Angeles County health officials reported Sunday 10 additional deaths and 1,703 more cases of coronavirus infection, bringing the county’s total case count to more than 174,000. The number of reported cases and deaths are typically lower on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as on Mondays, because of limited testing and a lag in reporting data from testing laboratories over the weekend.

There are currently 2,033 L.A County residents hospitalized for the illness caused by the virus, 31% of whom are in intensive care. But those totals are incomplete “due to data from six non-reporting hospitals not being part of today’s update,” the county said in a statement.

More than 1.6 million county residents have been tested for COVID-19, including 10% who tested positive.

One bright spot is found in the county’s seven-day positivity rate, or the average number of positive test results among all those tested in that period. According to the California Department of Public Health, the average currently stands at 8.3%. That percentage places it above the state’s safety threshold of 8% but is lower than what the county has seen in weeks prior.

Orange County’s seven-day positivity rate is now at 12.7%, which is higher than the state’s goal but lower than what the county has reported previously.

The county reported 420 additional cases Sunday and two more deaths — numbers that, like those of L.A. County, are typically lower on weekends.

There are currently 687 people hospitalized for the virus, including 201 — or more than 29% — in intensive care. The number of hospitalized patients in Orange County reached 600 in early July and steadily climbed over the past month. The number of hospitalized individuals remains higher than what the county reported months ago but is not as high as the number reported in mid-July and currently is below the state’s threshold.

More than 390,000 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Orange County, which has recorded more than 34,300 infections.

Both Orange and Los Angeles counties remain on the state’s watch list and are being monitored for case count and the rate of positive infections. The two counties account for the highest number of outbreaks in the state, with Los Angeles still accounting for the bulk of the state’s infections and deaths.

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