Coronavirus cell

An colorized electron microscope photograph from Elizabeth Fischer shows viral particles being released from a dying cell infected with the coronavirus. Contact tracers reach out to people who test positive and those they've been in contact with and can help them with isolating. (Courtesy of Dr. Elizabeth Fischer/KHN/TNS)

Tuolumne County’s death toll from COVID-19 increased to 55 on Tuesday as three more local residents have reportedly lost their lives to the deadly virus.

The three people whose deaths the county Public Health Department announced on Tuesday were identified as a woman in her 70s who was hospitalized, a man in his 80s, and a man in his 90s. Investigations determined their deaths were COVID-related. No information about when or where the three individuals died was released.

There were also 53 new cases of COVID-19 in the county from Saturday through Tuesday, with 35 identified as inmates at the Sierra Conservation Center state prison outside Jamestown. The 1,376 inmates cases at SCC as of Tuesday accounted for 35.7% of the 3,853 total cases confirmed in the county since the pandemic began.

No inmates at the SCC prison have died from COVID-19, according to the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The county’s new community cases from Saturday through Tuesday included three boys and two girls 17 or younger, four men 18 to 29, one man in his 30s, a man and woman in their 40s, three men and one woman in their 50s, a man in his 60s, and a woman in her 70s.

There were 66 active cases and one COVID-positive individual who was hospitalized as of Tuesday. 

While the county’s daily case rate of 13.1 per 100,000 people and testing positive rate of 4% was down slightly from the previous week, it remained in the state’s purple tier for widespread risk of coronavirus infection. 

The county Public Health Department continues to distribute COVID-19 vaccine doses to people in Phase 1A and Phase 1B-Tier 1 of a state vaccine distribution plan, for individuals age 70 and older as well as education workers, childcare workers, and emergency services workers. Visit www.tuolumnecounty.ca.gov/1317/COVID-Vaccine online for more information.

A state vaccine dashboard shared on Tuesday showed 9,434 vaccine doses have been administered in Tuolumne County. The county’s estimated population is 54,660.

As of Tuesday afternoon, California had counted more than 3.41 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 47,100 coronavirus deaths. Nationally, the pandemic had resulted in more than 27.74 million confirmed cases and contributed to the deaths of more than 487,700 Americans.

A regional stay home order that was based on intensive care unit availability in the 12-county San Joaquin Valley region, which includes Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, was rescinded in late January.

The COVID-19 testing site at Mother Lode Fairgrounds, set up by the state and run by Optum Serve-LHI, is supposed to be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.

Once-a-week testing sites are being staged at Groveland Community Hall, 18720 Main Street in Groveland, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays; and at Tuolumne Memorial Hall, 18375 Fir Ave. in the town of Tuolumne, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays. Appointments can be scheduled at www.lhi.care/covidtesting or by calling (888) 634-1123.

People with concerns about new or worsening symptoms can call Adventist Health Sonora’s COVID-19 Triage Line at (209) 536-5166.

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

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

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