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Tuolumne County added 108 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, which included 63 unvaccinated individuals and five inmates at the Sierra Conservation Center state prison outside Jamestown, while the daily case rate has now more than tripled in the past two weeks.

The county had 254 active cases as of Thursday afternoon, which included 12 people hospitalized for the potentially deadly disease. Nine of the patients were reportedly unvaccinated.

In addition, the county’s daily case rate continued rising Thursday to 63.4 per 100,000 residents averaged over the previous two weeks. That was up from 51.6 per 100,000 on Wednesday and more than triple the 20.7 per 100,000 rate two weeks ago on Dec. 23.

Tuolumne County Public Health continued reminding people Thursday 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 Thursday. “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 Thursday 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.  

New community cases in Tuolumne County reported on Thursday were identified as four girls and five boys under age 12; six girls and six boys between 12 and 17; 11 women and one man between 18 and 29; 14 women and eight men in their 30s; three women and six men in their 40s; eight women and four men in their 50s; six women and nine men in their 60s; four women and four men in their 70s; and two women and two men in their 80s.

As of Thursday afternoon, a total of 150 Tuolumne County deaths had been attributed to COVID-19 since the pandemic began in early 2020.

Also Thursday, the Calaveras County Public Health Division added 30 new cases of COVID-19. Calaveras County’s coronavirus death toll was at 94, with its two most recent deaths counted Dec. 29. Its public health division does not publicly disclose vaccination status of new cases or deaths.

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-vac

Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.net or (209) 770-0405. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.

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