SACRAMENTO (AP) – The number of counties on California’s monitoring list for coronavirus cases grew to 42 even as Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday the state’s overall virus trends were heading in the right direction.

Newsom said the state found an additional 14,861 virus cases after reviewing a backlog of nearly 300,000 test results that got tied up in a lab reporting problem.

He announced the addition of five more Northern California counties – Amador, Mendocino, Calaveras, Sierra and Inyo – to the list of those facing more restrictions on business and school reopenings. Santa Cruz County was removed from the list.

Over the past week, the state has reported an average of 9,446 virus cases a day, but the positivity rate – the number of virus cases in relation to tests performed – has fallen from earlier in August to 6.5 percent, Newsom said.

“Those case numbers are high but they are trending in the right direction,” he said, noting that hospitalizations have also declined over the past two weeks.

California has faced criticism in recent weeks over its sluggish data, which made it tough for county health workers to follow up with people who tested positive for COVID-19 to try to prevent the spread of the virus.

The state has been grappling with a surge in cases following the reopening of businesses and increased summertime gatherings.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

Confusions lingered Monday over the state’s handling of virus data. Newsom said San Diego County – the second-most populous in the state – could come off the monitoring list as early as Tuesday, but local officials sent the governor a letter on Friday claiming the county’s numbers had already fallen below those that landed it on the list.

Counties need to remain off the list for 14 days to be able to generally reopen schools.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press.

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