Coronavirus cell

The coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV-2, shown in purple, infects a cell, colored in green. (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)

The Tuolumne County Public Health Department noted two more COVID-19 deaths Thursday, a man in his 80s who was hospitalized and a woman in her 80s who had been hospitalized.

The woman’s death remained under investigation and will not be counted as COVID-related until the investigation has been completed, the department said. No other information was provided about either of the victims.

With the man’s death, the number of county residents who have died from the virus increased to 52 since the pandemic began early last year. 

There were also 17 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the county on Thursday, with 10 of them involving inmates at the Sierra Conservation Center state prison outside Jamestown.

The seven new community cases counted Thursday included two women between 18 and 29 years old, two women and a man in their 50s, and a man and woman in their 60s.

The county’s daily case rate as of Thursday was 15 per 100,000 people, and its test positivity rate was 5.5%. While both were improvements over the previous week, the county remained in the state’s purple tier for widespread risk of coronavirus infection.

As of Thursday, the county had counted 3,774 total cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began early last year, with 2,448 community cases and 1,326 inmate cases. There were 72 active coronavirus cases, and four COVID-positive individuals were hospitalized as of Thursday.

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 licensed childcare workers and emergency services workers. Visit www.tuolumnecounty.ca.gov/1317/COVID-Vaccine online for more information.

As of Thursday afternoon, California had counted more than 3.37 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 45,450 coronavirus deaths. Nationally, the pandemic had resulted in more than 27.38 million confirmed cases and contributed to the deaths of more than 475,000 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care unit availability in the 12-county San Joaquin Valley region, which includes Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, was rescinded in late January.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.