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)

A 152nd coronavirus death in Tuolumne County was counted Wednesday, along with 117 more new cases of COVID-19 while the daily case rate jumped to an all-time high for a third consecutive day, with 113.7 cases per 100,000 residents averaged over the previous two weeks.

The deceased individual was identified as a man in his 80s. The new record daily case rate was up from the previous record rate of 104.9 per 100,000 set Tuesday. It was also more than quadruple the rate two weeks ago, when it was 26.9 per 100,000 on Dec. 29.

The Tuolumne County Public Health Department has stopped reporting vaccination status of cases on a daily basis. The department has ceased disclosing the information “due to the surge in cases and still evolving change in definitions in vaccination status,” its staff said Tuesday.

The county’s Wednesday case total included five inmates at the Sierra Conservation Center state prison outside Jamestown. There were 586 active cases in the county as of Wednesday, including six individuals hospitalized with COVID-19.

The COVID-19 testing site at Mother Lode Fairgrounds off Stockton Road in Sonora will be open on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, next Monday, Tuolumne County Public Health said.

“We are aware that testing results from the site have been delayed due to high usage statewide,” the county agency said Wednesday. “Currently, we are seeing results take up to four or five days.”

The testing site is supposed to be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 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.

Tuolumne County Public Health continued reminding people Wednesday their COVID response team is still doing case investigations and contact tracing. They are so swamped with new cases this week they are talking about the use of so-called virtual agents.

“Due to the large increase in cases that we are experiencing, we will not reach everyone,” the agency stated Tuesday. “If you receive a positive test result, you will likely receive a text from a ‘virtual agent’ to make contact and provide some information on what to do next.”

County public health tips Wednesday included:

• You can help slow the spread of COVID-19 by responding to texts, calls, or emails, and self-isolating when you have symptoms or a positive test result. Also notify any close contacts you’ve had from two days before you became ill or got tested.

• Any close contacts should follow current quarantine guidance and get tested three to five days after exposure.

• If you are at high risk of severe disease or hospitalization, you can contact your doctor to discuss potential treatment options. If you are not symptomatic, have not tested positive for COVID-19 recently, and are not in quarantine, get vaccinated or boosted.

The 112 new community cases in Tuolumne County on Wednesday were identified as six girls and five boys under age 12; nine girls and 10 boys between 12 and 17; 10 women and seven men between 18 and 29; 11 women and nine men in their 30s; eight women and six men in their 40s; 10 women and five men in their 50s; five women and four men in their 60s; three women and two men in their 70s; and two men in their 80s.

As of Wednesday afternoon, a total of 152 Tuolumne County deaths had been attributed to COVID-19 since the pandemic began in early 2020. The most recent death, a man in his 80s, was announced Wednesday this week.

Also Wednesday, the Calaveras County Public Health Division added 54 new cases of COVID-19. Calaveras County’s coronavirus death toll was at 94, with its two most recent deaths counted Dec. 29.

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.

• Safeway pharmacy: register at mhealthsystem.com/3127tuolumne or call (209) 533-7812.

• 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 (209) 770-0405. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.