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Coronavirus cases are showing new signs of slowing across many parts of the state, led by improvements in Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area, while other areas of rural Northern California and the Central Valley continue to struggle with much higher rates of hospitalizations, according to a Los Angeles Times data analysis.

Over the last month, new daily coronavirus cases in California have been generally stable, hovering between 12,000 and 15,000 a day, according to the analysis. And as of Sunday, COVID-19 hospitalizations across California had fallen for five consecutive days — by 7% — from a summertime high.

But the improvements are not even. While hospitalizations for the disease caused by the coronavirus have flattened across the most populated areas of California, regions where vaccination rates are relatively low remain hard hit by the virus.

The Sacramento area recently reported hospitalizations nearly as bad as during the winter surge; in California’s rural north, COVID-19 hospitalizations are almost twice as severe as they were during the peak of the winter wave. Physicians in Mendocino County say: “Never before have we seen such a surge of sick, young patients.”

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