Between Alameda, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara counties alone, 1,123 new cases were added to the Bay Area's cumulative total today, and Friday's increase is the biggest one-day uptick in the region since mid-July. But on the good-news side, hospitalizations have been trending downward for about two weeks — except in San Francisco.

East Bay and Santa Clara counties add over 1,100 new cases in one day. Presumably, the state-level backlog in new case data was cleared up earlier this week. But perhaps that was not the case for Santa Clara County, which just had one of its biggest one-day new case totals since the pandemic began: 516. It represents nearly a 4-percent day-over-day increase, bringing the county's cumulative case total to 13,856. Meanwhile  in nearby Alameda County, today saw a one-day increase of 233 cases, for a total of 14,558 to date — the highest in the nine-county Bay Area. And Contra Costa County added 274 new cases since Thursday, for a total of 10,756.

Overall, the Bay Area has added 1,725 cases so far today, without Solano County reporting, for a total of 69,503. That's a one-day rise of 2.6 percent, and there hasn't been such a large one-day uptick since July 22, when it was 2.9 percent. [SFist]

Hospitalization rates have been falling across most of the Bay Area since late July — but this drop tracks nearly exactly with the number of deaths. Whether the people becoming infected locally lately have tended to be younger or healthier — and therefore less likely to be hospitalized — is not yet clear. But as case counts have continued ticking up steadily in nearly every Bay Area county, the total number of patients in hospitals has dropped for several weeks, with a few upticks in between. From a peak of 1,011 confirmed and suspected COVID patients in the nine counties on July 23, the hospital census has dropped 23 percent, to 783. But the number of people in hospitals drops both when people recover and are not replaced by the newly sick, and when deaths occur — and with an overall drop of 228 patients since July 23, a total of 218 deaths have occurred in the Bay Area in that same span of time.

Hospitalizations are ticking upward in San Francisco this week, as case counts go down. It looked as though hospitalizations in SF had peaked in late July with a total of 128 confirmed and suspected patients. That number dropped down to 91 last week, but it's ticked back up to 116 as of the middle of this week — with 102 of those confirmed by lab tests. It could be a blip, but the fact that hospitalizations aren't dropping as they have been in other counties may be some cause for concern. Meanwhile, only nine new deaths have been recorded in the city since July 23. The seven-day average of new cases per day is falling in SF, but it is still three times as high (91 vs. 30) as it was in mid-June. Meanwhile, across the country, the number of new cases and new deaths being recorded daily are both trending downward.

Chart via the SF Dept. of Public Health

The CDC confirms that full immunity to COVID-19 may only last three months in recovered patients. The CDC has issued new guidance that takes seriously a study published in the UK last month that suggests that antibody levels drop to nearly undetectable levels in recovered COVID patients after about three months. It's yet to be confirmed what this means — experts were quick to suggest that the number of antibodies may not be the only key to being able to fight the virus a second time. But the CDC is basically saying that if people go back to work, their guaranteed immunity may be limited to a few months. [New York Times]