(The Center Square) – While several metrics regarding the spread of coronavirus in California remain positive, recent data has public health officials predicting an 89 percent increase in hospitalizations for the disease over the next month.
While the rate of those testing positive for the virus remains low at 3 percent over the past two weeks, many areas around the state are seeing a slight increase in the number of cases per 100,000 residents, as well as increases in the number of emergency room visits by people with coronavirus symptoms.
Since the pandemic began in March, California has reported 809,643 confirmed cases, including 2,009 Sunday, and 15,606 deaths, including 19 Sunday.
Based on current numbers, Dr. Mark Ghaly said the state is forecasting 4,864 coronavirus hospitalizations by Oct. 25, a nearly 90 percent increase from the current 2,578. That would still be far short of peak hospitalizations in July, which hit 7,100.
But Ghaly also noted that October is considered the start of flu season, which could complicate matters.
“We see things coming together that we want to be very vigilant around, to ensure that even if we go up a little bit with our hospitalizations, we don’t continue to have high rates and even come close to the numbers that we saw over the summer,” he said.
Ghaly also repeated a message he has been saying for awhile, asking people to wear face coverings, avoid gatherings with others from outside their household and get a flu shot.
There are also other factors at work. Health officials recently said some of the increase in emergency room visits by people who fear they might have coronavirus are actually symptoms caused by poor air quality due to wildfires, particularly coughing and shortness of breath.
This article was originally published on California healths officials express concern over coronavirus hospitalizations