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)

The Tuolumne County Public Health Department recorded one death related to COVID-19 and 55 new cases over the past weekend, and added that it has set aside an unspecified number of Moderna vaccine doses due to allergic reactions among some recipients elsewhere in California.

Dr. Erica Pan, the state’s top epidemiologist, has asked vaccine providers to stop giving shots from a batch of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine as the state further investigates reports of allergic reactions.

Pan issued a statement Sunday recommending providers stop giving doses from lot 041L20A of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine due to possible allergic reactions that are being investigated.

The most recent individual in the county who died from coronavirus complications was identified as a man in his 70s. Information about when and where the man died was not released. The county’s total of deaths where coronavirus was the primary or contributing cause was 39 on Monday.

The Monday update from Tuolumne County Public Health did not include Monday’s new cases. Monday was the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

The 55 new cases from the weekend included 32 new community cases and 23 Sierra Conservation Center state prison inmates. New community cases included two men and two women in their 50s; four men and two women in their 60s; two men and one woman in their 70s; and one woman in her 80s.

Tuolumne County Public Health continues to distribute COVID-19 vaccine doses to people who qualify in Phase 1A of a state vaccine distribution plan, and the department says staff “are beginning to move into Phase 1B.” The department urges people to follow its website www.tuolumnecounty.ca.gov/1317/COVID-Vaccine for updates.

“As we continue our planning and await further guidance and delivery of vaccine, proceeding through the phased distribution, we will update our website and inform the public of how, where, and when they can expect to get vaccinated,” Tuolumne County Public Health staff said Monday.

“Thank you all for your patience as we work with the state and our local partners to get vaccine received and distributed to our community as quickly and safely as possible,” Tuolumne County Public Health staff said Monday. “We were notified on Sunday that a higher than usual number of adverse events were reported with a specific lot of Moderna vaccine which was administered at a vaccination clinic outside of Tuolumne County. Out of an extreme abundance of caution, providers are recommended to pause the use of this lot of Moderna vaccine while the CDC and FDA review the situation. Tuolumne County Public Health has received some of this lot number and it has been put aside and will not be used at this time.”

As of Monday afternoon, Tuolumne County had counted 3,359 total cases of coronavirus since early this year, with 2,150 community cases and 1,209 inmate cases. There were 135 active coronavirus cases and four COVID-positive individuals hospitalized as of Monday.

Also as of Monday afternoon, California had counted more than 2.97 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 33,590 deaths. Nationally, the pandemic had resulted in more than 24 million confirmed cases and contributed to the deaths of more than 398,800 Americans.

A new state travel advisory is in effect, and Californians should avoid non-essential travel more than 120 miles from their place of residence.

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 at 0 percent as of Thursday.

Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state Health and Human Services secretary, said in late December 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,” county public health staff said.

Six days ago, the 13-county Greater Sacramento region that includes Alpine County, which borders Calaveras and Tuolumne counties, exited its regional stay home order, said Richard O. Johnson, the Alpine County health officer.

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. The county public health department has been approved to open testing sites at 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. The Tuolumne site will not be open this Thursday, Jan. 21 due to a scheduling conflict. 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 the Adventist Health Sonora COVID-19 Triage Line at (209) 536-5166 to speak to a nurse or other clinician.

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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