California reports record daily COVID-19 death toll of 764

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California reported a one-day record of 764 COVID-19 deaths on Friday but the rate of new infections is falling.

The deaths reported by the California Department of Public Health top the previous mark of 708 set on Jan. 8. In the last two days California has recorded 1,335 deaths and the state’s overhaul total during the pandemic is nearing 36,000.

Hospitalizations and newly confirmed cases have been falling, however, and health officials are growing more optimistic that the worst of the latest surge is over.

The 23,024 new cases reported Friday are less than half the mid-December peak of nearly 54,000. In the last week the state averaged nearly 29,000 new cases per day, more than 6,000 fewer than the prior week.

The positivity rate for people being tested has dropped by 15% in the last week, which means fewer people will end up in hospitals. Hospitalizations have fallen below 20,000 statewide, a drop of more than 10% in two weeks.