Coronavirus

Coronavirus Cell

Tuolumne County tallied 14 more new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, while a person who recently tested positive died after release from isolation.

The deceased individual was not identified and their cause of death was described by the county Public Health Department as unknown as of Tuesday evening.

The county’s official COVID-19 death toll remained at 21, with the most recent death reported Wednesday last week. Thirteen coronavirus deaths have been recorded in the county in December. The first eight coronavirus deaths in the county occurred between July and November.

The Calaveras County Public Health Division, which releases updated numbers twice a week, added 99 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. 

Calaveras County authorities have counted a total of 853 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since early this year, with 711 individual cases described as recovered, and 120 active cases as of Tuesday evening. There have been a total of 22 confirmed deaths related to COVID-19 reported in the county. 

“Calaveras Public Health is currently working to resolve a discrepancy between the number of COVID-19 cases reported by us compared to those reported by the state,” the county’s public health staff said Tuesday. “Positive cases are reported in the state’s coronavirus tracking database. The tests reported to Calaveras Public Health are approximate.”

None of the new cases in Tuolumne County on Tuesday were inmates at Sierra Conservation Center near Jamestown, where an outbreak added more than 1,000 cases to the county’s total this month.

New cases in Tuolumne County on Tuesday included one man and one woman in their 50s; one man in his 60s; one man in his 70s; one man and one woman in their 80s; and one woman in her 90s.

There were 113 active cases of coronavirus in Tuolumne County as of Tuesday evening. Six individuals with coronavirus were hospitalized in Tuolumne County.

The state testing site at Mother Lode Fairgrounds had staffing issues Tuesday “and while they worked most of the day to find nursing staff, they were unable to do so and closed for testing for the remainder of the day,” Tuolumne County Public Health staff said.

“We understand the frustration and confusion this may have caused and we are working with the site managers to help resolve staffing and communications issues,” Tuolumne County Public Health staff said. “Staffing, especially clinical staffing is a challenge being felt throughout the state as the pandemic continues.”

Anyone who spent time around people outside their individual households during the holiday should get tested five days after the last date of contact, Tuolumne County Public Health staff said Monday.

Appointments at the state testing site at Mother Lode Fairgrounds can be scheduled or rescheduled at https://lhi.care/covidtesting online or by calling (888) 634-1123.

The current regional stay home order is based on intensive care unit availability in the 12-county San Joaquin Valley region, which includes Tuolumne and Calaveras counties. ICU availability for the San Joaquin Valley region remained 0 percent as of Tuesday, and a four-week ICU projection on a California Department of Public Health map stated “Demand exceeds capacity.”

On Tuesday, the state Health and Human Services secretary, Dr. Mark Ghaly, announced the stay home order for the San Joaquin Valley region will be extended until projections from the state show ICU capacity above or equal to 15 percent. Projections will be calculated and updated daily moving forward.

“Please stay vigilant, wear a mask, wash your hands and maintain a safe social distance from others to help slow the spread and the impact to our local hospital and healthcare system,” Tuolumne County Public Health staff said.

As of Tuesday evening, Tuolumne County had counted 2,841 total cases of coronavirus since early this year, with 1,028 inmate cases, and 1,680 individual cases described as recovered. 

The state has changed a process in the infectious disease reporting system CalREDIE, which may cause delays in Tuolumne County case reporting, county public health staff said earlier this month.

The first phase of vaccine distribution, focused on frontline healthcare workers and vulnerable members in long-term care settings because of their risk of exposure to COVID-19, continues this week.

As of Tuesday evening, California had counted more than 2.18 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, resulting in 24,526 deaths. Nationally, the pandemic had resulted in more than 19.5 million confirmed cases and contributed to the deaths of more than 337,800 Americans.

Tuolumne County Public Health staff say the Optum/LHI state test site at Mother Lode Fairgrounds is open. Appointments are recommended and are available several days in advance, at www.lhi.care/covidtesting or call (888) 634-1123.

People with concerns about new or worsening symptoms can call the Adventist Health Sonora COVID-19 Triage Line at (209) 536-5166 to speak to a nurse or other clinician.

The California Department of Public Health strongly recommends Californians stay home or stay in their region, and avoid non-essential travel. There is a travel advisory in effect for anyone arriving in the Golden State. When visitors get here, each individual visitor should voluntarily self-quarantine for 10 days after arrival.

The county COVID-19 call center is open during normal office hours. People who have questions or concerns can call (209) 533-7440 for information.

Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.net or 770-0405. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.

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