Virus Outbreak California

California Gov. Gavin Newsom updates the state's response to the coronavirus, at the Governor's Office of Emergency Services in Rancho Cordova Calif., Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

(The Center Square) – For the second time in two days, California saw the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in a 24-hour period.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a Wednesday news conference that 7,149 people tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Tuesday. The previous high was Monday, when 5,019 people tested positive.

Part of the reason for the back-to-back record of new cases can be attributed to an increase in testing. On Tuesday, the state conducted 96,000 tests, a record high. Newsom noted that Tuesday's positivity rate of 5.1 percent also increased.

But Newsom also noted that the hospitalization rate in the state increased 29 percent over the past two weeks and the number of ICU beds in use rose 18 percent over the same time period.

“We cannot continue to do what we have done over the last number of weeks," Newsom said at a Wednesday news briefing. "Many of us understandably developed a little cabin fever, some I would argue developed a little amnesia, others have frankly taken down their guard.”

Newsom also noted that state tax dollars can be withheld from counties if they don't meet certain benchmarks.

"What we are now looking for is accountability at the local level," Newsom said. "I just did a budget deal with the California Legislature, $2.5 billion in that budget … [depends on] counties meeting their criteria under the emergency declaration related to COVID-19."

​Dan McCaleb is the executive editor of The Center Square. He welcomes your comments. Contact Dan at dmccaleb@thecentersquare.com.

Executive Editor

Dan McCaleb is a veteran editor and has worked in journalism for more than 25 years. Most recently, McCaleb served as editorial director of Shaw Media and the top editor of the award-winning Northwest Herald in suburban Chicago.