Coronavirus cell

Coronavirus cell

While the spread of COVID-19 among the Mother Lode’s overall population appears to be slowing, the pandemic was still claiming new victims Tuesday as Tuolumne and Calaveras counties each added a new death to their totals.

An unvaccinated woman in her 60s was the most recent coronavirus death reported Tuesday in Tuolumne County, along with 27 new cases. Nineteen of the 27 new cases were unvaccinated. 

No other information about the woman’s death was disclosed, including when and where she died.

As of Tuesday, three of Tuolumne County’s 118 deaths due to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic have been people who were fully vaccinated. About 90% of hospitalizations have consistently been unvaccinated people over the past three months since the more contagious delta variant emerged locally.

Tuolumne County had 212 active coronavirus cases on Tuesday, including 19 COVID-positive individuals hospitalized. It was the highest number of hospitalized patients at one time reported by the county Public Health Department since 20 coronavirus patients were hospitalized on Aug. 31. 

The county’s case rate fell fractionally to 53.7per 100,000 residents, down from 54.1 on Monday.

New cases in Tuolumne County on Tuesday were identified as a boy under age 12; a girl and three boys between 12 and 17; three men between 18 and 29; two men in their 30s; three women and three men in their 40s; two women and one man in their 50s; one woman and four men in their 60s; two women in their 70s; and a man aged 90 or older.

A woman in her 70s was added Tuesday as the most recent COVID-19 death in Calaveras County, along with 28 new cases. 

The Calaveras County Public Health Division’s staff offered their condolences to those suffering the loss of a loved one to COVID-19, but they did not disclose the woman’s vaccination status.

A total of 83 people have died from COVID-19 in Calaveras County since the pandemic began early last year, though it’s unknown how many those were vaccinated because officials do not provide that information. 

The Tuolumne County Public Health Department released new COVID-19 booster vaccination information Monday, and said new booster shots are now available for eligible populations.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup recommended booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine to specific populations on Sept. 24, and they have now updated their recommendation to include the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

A booster dose of the COVID-19 Moderna or Pfizer vaccine is recommended if you:

• Received a second vaccine dose at least 6 months ago, and 

• Are age 65 or older, or 

• Are age 18 or older and live in long-term care settings, or 

• Are age 18 or older and have underlying medical conditions, or 

• Are age 18 or older and are at increased risk due to social inequity, or 

• Are age 18 or older and work or live in high-risk settings 

A booster dose of the COVID-19 Janssen -- Johnson & Johnson -- vaccine is recommended if you: 

• Received a first dose of the Janssen vaccine at least 2 months ago, and 

• Are age 18 or older 

Individuals eligible for a booster may receive the same or different COVID-19 vaccine as a booster dose, depending on advice from a health care provider, individual preference, availability, or convenience.

To mitigate the impacts of the continued transmission and cases in our community, Tuolumne County Public Health recommends the following actions:

• Face coverings for all age-appropriate individuals, regardless of vaccination status, in indoor public settings. 

• Those who have close contact with the public are recommended to get tested regularly, every 14-28 days. Anyone experiencing symptoms should get tested right away.

• Cooperate with Public Health case investigators, contact tracers, and isolation & quarantine requests as these activities will limit the spread of disease.

• Stay home when sick or having symptoms. 

• Get vaccinated, finish the vaccination series if not complete, and get a booster dose if eligible. Locations and appointment times for vaccinations and boosters can be found at https://myturn.ca.gov.

Vaccination data compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed 59.5% of Tuolumne County’s population of people 12 and older were fully vaccinated as of Tuesday afternoon, while 62% of Calaveras County residents 12 and older were fully vaccinated.

Children younger than 12 are currently not eligible to receive any of the three COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. The Biden administration announced plans last week to roll out the shots for children ages 5 to 11 when federal regulators give the greenlight.

Unvaccinated Californians were 6.6 times more likely to get COVID-19, 12 times more likely to be hospitalized if they catch it and 17.8 times more likely to die from it than fully vaccinated people in recent weeks, according to data from the state Department of Public Health.

Calaveras County Public Health is touting a free drive-through flu shot clinic for ages 10 and up from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6 at Calaveras High School, 350 High School St. in San Andreas. For appointments, register athttps://myturn.ca.gov call (833) 422-4255. Walk-ins are welcome.

The largest testing site in Tuolumne County, at Mother Lode Fairgrounds in Sonora, has switched to self-swab testing, county Public Health said last week.

“If you are 12 or older and are able to do the swabbing yourself, you will be instructed to do so,” Tuolumne County Public Health said Tuesday. “Self-swabbing had previously been optional, but is now part of the regular testing protocol.”

The Mother Lode Fairgrounds testing site is supposed to be open seven days a week. The 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

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.