Virus Outbreak California

In this April 1, 2020, file photo Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services, gestures to a chart showing the impact of the mandatory stay-at-home orders, during a news conference in Rancho Cordova, Calif. Pedroncelli, Pool, File)

(The Center Square) – In their weekly update on coronavirus numbers, California public health officials said the seven days ending Oct. 6 saw the fewest fatalities since the first week in July.

Between Sept. 29 and Oct. 6, there were 470 deaths that included coronavirus as a factor, an average of 67 per day. That is down 20 percent compared to two weeks ago and the first time the number was below 500 in three months.

An additional 2,657 new cases were reported Tuesday, below the daily average of 3,180 over the past week. Since the pandemic began, California has reported 838,645 confirmed cases and 16,267 deaths.

“The number of cases on a daily basis will challenge our counties’ ability and our statewide ability to do the right disease investigation and contact tracing,” Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s secretary of health and human services, said during the update. “Although there is some encouragement here, there is work to do.”

In the six counties that make up the Bay Area, however, the 18 deaths reported Tuesday was the highest in a single day in two weeks. On a per-capita basis, San Francisco has the lowest death rate of all major cities with just 111 fatalities. Santa Clara, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Solano counties all rank in the bottom half of the state’s counties in per-capita deaths.

At the other end of the spectrum is Los Angeles County, where an additional 27 deaths were reported Tuesday. That brings its total to 6,681, or about 41 percent of the statewide total.

Ghaly said that plans for reopening theme parks would be revealed “soon.” Gov. Gavin Newsom late last week delayed releasing new guidelines after a draft proposal received pushback from industry leaders.

“Given the size and operational complexities of these unique sectors, we are seeking additional input from health, workforce and business stakeholders to finalize this important framework,” Ghaly said.

Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood remain closed, although their Florida counterparts, Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando, have reopened with attendance limits in place.

Bob Iger, executive chairman of The Walt Disney Co., last week resigned from Newsom’s economic recovery task force after the company announced it was laying off 28,000 employees.

Erin Guerrero, executive director of the California Attractions and Parks Association, said state officials were urged to consult with industry leaders before a final plan is put in place.

“While we are aligned on many of the protocols and health and safety requirements, there are many others that need to be modified if they are to lead to a responsible and reasonable amusement park reopening plan,” she said in a statement.