Coronavirus cell

This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. (NIAID/TNS)

There were three more COVID-19 deaths recorded in the Mother Lode from Saturday through Monday, two in Tuolumne County and one in Calaveras. There were also 125 new cases recorded, 72 in Tuolumne County and 53 in Calaveras.

The two deceased individuals in Tuolumne County were identified as a man in his 60s and a woman in her 70s, both unvaccinated. The deceased individual in Calaveras County was identified as a man in his 50s. No further information was disclosed about when or where the individuals died. 

The Calaveras County Public Health Division does not disclose vaccination status of COVID-19 cases or deaths.

The Tuolumne County Public Health team sent condolences to families and friends of the two people who died. Cori Allen, the Health and Human Services Agency director in Calaveras, also expressed condolences to the Calaveras man who died, “recognizing what a difficult and heartbreaking experience this is for his friends and family.”

COVID-19 had contributed to the deaths of 98 individuals in Tuolumne County as of Monday. That total included at least 25 coronavirus deaths since Aug. 1, with individuals in their 20s, 30s, and 40s among the deceased. Two of the 98 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.

One of the 72 new cases counted in Tuolumne County involved an inmate at the Sierra Conservation Center state prison outside Jamestown. Of 71 community cases in Tuolumne County, 12 individuals were vaccinated against coronavirus. As of Monday afternoon, there were 235 active cases in Tuolumne County, including 12 COVID-positive individuals hospitalized.

New cases from Saturday to Monday in Tuolumne County were identified as two girls and one boy under age 12; six girls and four boys between 12 and 17; five women and nine men between 18 and 29; seven women and three men in their 30s; four women and four men in their 40s; five men in their 50s; five women and two men in their 60s; one woman and eight men in their 70s; one woman and three men in their 80s; and one woman in her 90s.

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 Friday, 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.”

Also Friday, Amador, Calaveras, Tuolumne and Mariposa counties announced new health officer orders modifying existing COVID-19 requirements for youth sports and extracurricular activities. State guidelines are at this link https://bit.ly/38Yzcdm online.

“As a reminder, the symptoms of COVID-19 can sometimes be dismissed as allergies, a cold, wildfire smoke irritation, indigestion, etc.,” the Tuolumne County Public Health Department said in an update.

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.

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 Thursday. “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.

Tuolumne County Public Health continued Monday to strongly urge everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated. The most important step people can take to reduce the spread of disease and prevent serious illness and death, as well as reduce impacts on the local healthcare system, is to get fully vaccinated.

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.

The biggest testing site in Tuolumne County, at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds in Sonora, is supposed to be open for seven-days-a-week testing. 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.

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 Monday.

“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 Monday.

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 Monday.

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.