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California recorded its first week-over-week decline in reported coronavirus deaths, a promising if preliminary sign of progress as Gov. Gavin Newsom prepares to reopen some businesses this week.

Two weeks ago, California reported its highest one-week death toll — 542 fatalities among people infected with the coronavirus between April 20 and April 26. Last week, the weekly death toll fell for the first time, dropping nearly 9% to 495 fatalities for the seven-day period that ended Sunday, according to a Times data analysis.

While it was an improvement, last week’s toll was still the third highest over the course of the pandemic.

Even hard-hit parts of the state saw some relief. Los Angeles County, home to 55% of California’s COVID-19 deaths despite having only one-quarter of the state’s population, saw its reported weekly death toll flatten for the first time: 315 deaths each week for the last two weeks.

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