California’s COVID Positivity Rate Drops Below 3%

California’s COVID-19 positivity rate has dropped below 3% for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began — a hopeful sign that the state has finally turned a corner. In the last seven days, the positivity rate hit 2.8%. Over the past two weeks, it had been 3.1%.

A positivity rate below 3% is seen as an important milestone in the epidemiology community, as it suggests adequate testing and surveillance and a decreasing epidemic. The impact can be seen in California's most populous county, Los Angeles, which has met the benchmarks to move out of the worst (purple) tier and into the red. If it remains there for two weeks, it can loosen restrictions on business.

The good news does come with a word of caution. The impacts of Labor Day and the wildfires, which have forced mass evacuations across the state, have not been fully felt. And experts have long feared a resurgence in the fall season, which officially began Tuesday.