Welcome to a brand new year! I’m Winston Gieseke, philanthropy and special sections editor for The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, and I hope you had a terrific holiday weekend. We’re back with California’s latest headlines.

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COVID-19 cases fall in California, but it’s still the fastest spreader

People wait in line to register for a COVID-19 test at a free walk-up testing site in Van Nuys, Calif. Los Angeles County and Los Angeles City are taking mobile COVID-19 testing to residents at pop-up testing sites in various neighborhoods in Los Angeles.

In the week ending Saturday, the state of California reported 267,947 new cases of coronavirus, down 3.6% from the previous week. Then, 278,053 new cases were reported.

According to a USA TODAY Network analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University, California ranked No. 1 among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest on a per-person basis. In the latest week, the United States added 1,435,654 reported cases of coronavirus, an increase of 8.2% from the week before. Across the country, 35 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.

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