AltaMed Health Services staff member collects a sample on an oral swab for COVID-19 testing on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 in Boyle Heights, Calif. On Monday, June 22, California broke a daily record for new cases with more than 6,000 reported. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

LOS ANGELES – California shattered a daily record for new coronavirus cases with more than 6,000 infections reported Monday – the largest single-day count in the state since the pandemic hit the U.S.

In Los Angeles County, officials reported more than 2,000 new cases for the third time in the last week. In San Diego County, officials reported more than 300 new cases for the second day in a row after breaking a record with more than 310 cases Sunday.

The case count is only one metric in tracking the spread of the virus, and, while increased testing capacity may account for part of the increase, officials have said the surge cannot be pegged to testing alone.

Officials have repeatedly warned that they expect transmission rates to increase as more businesses reopen and people resume normal activities after monthslong stay-at-home orders.

L.A. County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer has said that while it is impossible to track the origin of spread in a public setting, it is “highly likely” that the overall increase is related to mass protests that erupted over the death of George Floyd as well as clusters of social gatherings at restaurants and private parties.

In Riverside County, which has the second-highest number of cases in the state, public health officials have reported 4,001 new cases in 14 days. Although the metric fails to meet Gov. Gavin Newsom’s standard for reopening, the county voted last month to approve a “Readiness and Reopening Framework” that outlines alternative benchmarks toward reopening.

Officials announced Monday that they will randomly select about 3,500 Riverside County residents for an antibody study to determine whether they’ve been exposed to the virus. The study will help the county’s planning efforts for reopening.

“We are asking those who are contacted to strongly consider taking part in the study,” said Kim Saruwatari, the county’s public health director. “It’s important to know the extent of the spread of the virus (and how many) have developed antibodies. That information is vital as we move forward.

Across the state, the positivity rate among those tested for coronavirus increased from 4.5% to 4.8% in the last week, and the number of hospitalizations jumped by 16%. In L.A. County, the positivity rate spiked from 5.8% two weeks ago to 8.4%.

Despite the uptick in cases, more cities and counties are continuing to expand their reopening plans.

In San Francisco, Mayor London Breed and Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax announced this week that the city would move up its next phase of reopening from mid-July to June 29. Hair and nail salons, barbershops, museums, zoos, tattoo parlors, massage establishments and outdoor bars will be able to reopen, provided they follow safety protocols.

“Thanks to San Franciscans’ efforts to follow health requirements, wear face coverings and practice social distancing, our COVID-19 health indicators are in a good place, and we can continue reopening our city,” Breed said. “We know a lot of businesses and residents are struggling financially, and this next step will help get more San Franciscans back to work while still balancing safety.”

Newsom said state health officials are keeping a close eye on the numbers, adding that he felt confident the state would be able to respond to the virus in the weeks and months ahead.

Recommended for you