Coronavirus cell

Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (orange)--also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19--isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (gray) cultured in the lab. Credit: NIAID-RML

There were 17 new cases of COVID-19 in Tuolumne County and 17 more in Calaveras County on Friday, public health agencies in Sonora and San Andreas said.

One of the new cases in Tuolumne County involved an inmate at the Sierra Conservation Center state prison outside Jamestown. Of 16 community cases in Tuolumne County, three individuals were vaccinated against coronavirus, according to Tuolumne County Public Health.

In addition, Tuolumne County had 263 active cases and 12 people hospitalized for the deadly virus on Thursday.

New community cases in Tuolumne County on Friday were identified as one girl and two boys under age 12; two girls and one boy between 12 and 17; two women and one man between 18 and 29; a woman in her 30s; two men in their 50s; two women in their 60s; a man in his 70s; and a man in his 80s.

The running average of new cases each day for the previous two weeks in Tuolumne County was 49.5 per 100,000 residents on Friday, down from 51.4 on Thursday.

COVID-19 had contributed to the deaths of 99 individuals in Tuolumne County as of Friday. That total included at least 26 coronavirus deaths since Aug. 1, with individuals in their 20s, 30s, and 40s among the deceased. Two of the 99 individuals who died of COVID-19 were vaccinated. The other 96 were unvaccinated.

Calaveras County has recorded 67 coronavirus deaths since the pandemic began early last year. Calaveras Public Health does not disclose vaccination status for coronavirus cases or coronavirus deaths.

Beginning this Sunday, the biggest testing site in Tuolumne County at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds in Sonora, is supposed to add another testing lane, intended to increase the number of appointments available each day. The testing site is supposed to be open seven days a week. The testing site is run by Logistics Health Incorporated, a subsidiary of OptumServe, which is a federal health services contractor being paid by the state of California. Testing is no longer available at Tuolumne Veterans Memorial Hall.

Testing appointments can be scheduled online at www.lhi.care/covidtesting or by calling (888) 634-1123. Testing is also available through Adventist Health Rapid Care and the hospital emergency department if you are experiencing symptoms.

Flu shot clinics hosted by the Tuolumne County Public Health Department are being planned between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Oct. 6, at Sierra Bible Church off Tuolumne Road, and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 13, at 1890 Main St. in Groveland. Tuolumne County Public Health will also offer flu shots 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays. Call (209) 533-7401 to make appointments.

Unvaccinated people are 29 times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 than those who are fully vaccinated, the Calaveras County Public Health Division announced last week, citing a study titled “SARS-CoV-2 Infections and Hospitalizations Among Persons Aged ≥16 Years, by Vaccination Status — Los Angeles County, California, May 1–July 25, 2021.”

“Being fully vaccinated lowers your risk of severe symptoms, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19,” the division stated. “Don’t wait. Vaccinate.”

Anyone experiencing any new or worsening symptoms, even if it’s only one of the symptoms, should get tested right away and avoid close contact with others while waiting for test results. Symptoms can include fever or chills, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, cough, fatigue, headache, muscle or body aches, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. Anyone with more serious symptoms such as pain or pressure in the chest, trouble breathing, bluish lips or face, sudden confusion, dizziness, or having a hard time staying awake should contact a healthcare provider or urgent care.

“Symptoms of COVID-19 can sometimes be dismissed as allergies, a cold, wildfire smoke irritation, indigestion, etc.,” the Tuolumne County Public Health Department said earlier this month.

Choosing to help the county Public Health Department slow the spread of COVID-19 “helps protect you, your family, and your community,” the Tuolumne County Public Health Department said last week. “We all need to work together to slow the spread of COVID-19. We strongly encourage everyone to be part of the solution and answer the phone — it may be the health department calling to let you know your test result came back positive for COVID-19, or that you have been in close contact with someone who has it.”

The Tuolumne County Public Department also recently shared a one-minute YouTube video produced by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. View the video at https://bit.ly/3zEM3gH online.

Anyone 12 and older is eligible for the COVID vaccine. Individuals may register for notification of upcoming clinics and schedule appointments on MyTurn at https://myturn.ca.gov/ or by calling (833) 422-4255. For Information on the various avenues to obtain a vaccination in Tuolumne County, visit www.tuolumnecounty.ca.gov/1317/COVID-Vaccine online.

Being fully vaccinated continues to significantly reduce the risk of illness, hospitalization, and death due to COVID-19, the Tuolumne County Public Health Department said Friday.

“As we continue to experience an extremely high rate of new cases daily, Public Health continues to strongly encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated,” Tuolumne County Public Health stated Friday.

Wearing masks in public, keeping social distance, avoiding crowds, washing hands, and staying home when sick will help slow the spread of the virus, county Public Health said.

“If you receive a positive test result, please isolate at home and our Public Health team will reach out to you as soon as possible,” the department stated Friday.

For information and guidance on isolation and quarantine, visit https://bit.ly/3sf3bGM online.

Testing

When you should get tested: Five days after travel or close contact with others outside your household; as soon as possible if experiencing symptoms; and/or every 14 to 28 days if regularly working with the public.

Testing is available from:

• Local health care providers;

• Adventist Health Sonora, call first: (209) 536-5166;

• Rite Aid at 855 Mono Way, Sonora: www.riteaid.com/pharmacy/services/covid-19-testing

• Mother Lode Fairgrounds, 220 Southgate Drive, Sonora  — 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. Appointments are recommended and can be scheduled at www.lhi.care/covidtesting or by calling (888) 634-1123.

Vaccinations

• Book vaccine appointments at https://myturn.ca.gov or call (833) 422-4255.

• Homebound residents in Tuolumne County can contact health@tuolumnecounty.ca.gov or (209) 533-7440 for a mobile vaccination appointment. They or their caretakers can also go to https://myturn.ca.gov and select “homebound.”

• CVS and Rite Aid stores in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties: sign up at https://www.cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine or www.riteaid.com/pharmacy/covid-qualifier

• Adventist Health Sonora: find more information at www.adventisthealthsonora.org/covidvaccine or call (209) 536-5165.

• The Safeway pharmacy: register at mhealthsystem.com/3127tuolumne or call (209) 533-7812.

• The Save Mart pharmacy: register at https://savemartluckysched.rxtouch.com/smsched/program/covid19/Patient/Advisory or call (209) 536-1118 for Sonora store.

• Twain Harte Pharmacy: call (209) 586-3225 for information and appointments.

• Groveland Pharmacy: call (209) 962-5211 for information and appointments.

• Information on VA Clinic vaccinations: https://www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine

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

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