California became the first US state to have conducted 13m coronavirus tests, even as the wildfires there have resulted in a drop-off in testing in recent days and weeks.

The state also had its biggest daily jump in coronavirus fatalities in about a fortnight, with authorities this afternoon reporting a further 164 deaths. That was up from 66 yesterday and nearly double the 83 deaths a week ago.

It was the biggest one-day increase since September 3, matching the 164 reported that day. That pushed the rolling seven-day average of deaths in California to 107 a day, the first time over 100 in eight days and the highest level since September 7.

California reported 72,352 new Covid-19 tests over the past day, taking the total number conducted in the state since the outbreak began to 13,000,522. That is more than any other US state and nearly 3.5m more than second-ranked New York.

Over the past 14 days, California has averaged 102,000 tests a day, down from a peak rate of nearly 129,000 in mid-August, a trend that governor Gavin Newsom said reflects the impact of the state’s recent wildfires.

“We have been stressed the last three weeks, however, by these fires that have impacted a lot of our mobile testing sites. Air quality issues have impacted accessibility to these sites,” Mr Newsom said at a press conference this afternoon, adding that the state was committed to further boosting its testing efforts.

Within the latest batch of tests, a further 2,950 people in the Golden State tested positive for Covid-19 over the past 24 hours, up from 2,235 on Tuesday and compared with 1,616 last Wednesday.


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