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System error alters coronavirus numbers in Stanislaus County



Don’t be fooled by the tiny numbers.

The state’s top health officials say a drop in coronavirus case numbers this week might sound encouraging, but it’s an underestimate caused by technical issues with the CalREDIE system recording COVID-19 test results from labs.

The state and Stanislaus County are not yet on the road to recovery and the technical problem is serious.

In addition to providing up-to-date statistics on the spread of the coronavirus, which guide state and local decisions to close or reopen businesses and schools, CalREDIE is an important tool for the county̵

7;s contact-tracing process that helps slow the spread of COVID-19 disease. in communities.

Tuesday’s update on the Stanislaus County coronavirus dashboard showed 31 new cases out of 106 tests. Daily tests of over 1,000 were common during the second half of July.

The county issued a disclaimer stating that Tuesday’s figures represent an “underestimate of actual positive cases” due to continuing problems with the state’s CalREDIE electronic case reporting system. The dashboard was no longer available online on Wednesday, replaced by an issue warning.

Statewide, data showed 5,739 new cases on Monday and 4,500 on Tuesday. The state has not seen such small increases in a single day since the beginning of July.

Stanislaus County remains in a contagious disease emergency, with 72 deaths in the past 17 days. The county health services agency reported nine more coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, which occurred in the past two weeks, a spokesperson said.

Six men and three women succumbed to COVID-19; all had underlying health conditions. Three were aged between 61 and 70; three were between 71 and 80 years old; two were from 81 to 90; and one was over 90 years old. The county has not disclosed the city of residence.

A further 10 deaths were reported on Wednesday, bringing the total to 145 during the pandemic. County health services said four men and six women lost their lives. All but one had underlying health conditions.

County hospitals care for 278 patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 disease, with 96 percent of adult intensive care beds in use. A total of 9,308 coronavirus cases have been confirmed since March.

Regardless of the low number of published cases by the county, the local outbreak “is very serious at this point,” said county supervisor Vito Chiesa. “I don’t think anyone is thinking this will go away anytime soon.”

Royjindar Singh, a spokesperson for the Stanislaus County Emergency Operations Center, said the state is working with counties to allow them to receive coronavirus test results directly from the labs. Comprehensive test results are needed for the county contact-tracking team to do their job.

Trackers from county contacts have routinely acquired new case information from CalREDIE and then called people who tested positive to ensure they are quarantined and not spread the virus to people they know.

“The case numbers we’re getting are not accurate,” Singh said Wednesday. The state is directing labs to contact counties directly about positive cases, he added.

“They are trying to identify an appropriate way to do this. Should it be done by phone, email or fax? From what I was told, he is not yet identified, “Singh said.

State task force visit with Stanislaus County

County officials held meetings with state representatives Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss state assistance to flatten the curve of new infections in the ailing county. The agencies that attended the meetings were the county, the California Office of Emergency Services, the Department of Public Health, Cal OSHA, the Department of Housing and Community, the Department of Social Services, and the Department of food and agriculture.

Governor Gavin Newsom said he will work with the legislature to approve $ 52 million to support hard-hit counties in Central Valley. Details about state assistance to Stanislaus should emerge from this week’s meetings.

“A lot of it is talking and talking about areas where we can provide assistance based on the county’s priorities and needs,” said Brian Ferguson, spokesperson for Cal OES.

Ferguson said it’s possible the state could provide shelter or additional housing for farm workers who contract the virus and need to isolate themselves.

County leaders have hoped the state can help speed up turnaround times for tests. Other needs are additional staff for hospitals and a mobile testing plan for disadvantaged populations, Singh pointed out.

Ferguson said the state has sent a team of experts on strike to Imperial County, where agricultural workers have suffered disproportionately from COVID-19. Stanislaus County has similar challenges.

It is unknown whether state assistance will cover hospitals or problems in nursing homes and congregated population centers in Modesto and Turlock. Turlock’s Emanuel Medical Center requested extra nursing staff from a state program.

Additionally, the county has struggled with large to small outbreaks of COVID-19 disease in eight or more nursing homes and assisted living centers.

The nurses protest to Modesto and Turlock

On Wednesday, nurses from two medical centers, doctors from Modesto and Emanuel in Turlock, held protests calling for adequate masks and protective equipment and the cancellation of a waiver that gave hospitals flexibility on the nurse-patient relationship.

National Nurses United said the waiver endangers nurses by increasing the number of COVID-19 patients under their care.

Ten nurses held “Save Lives, Protect Nurses” signs in front of Emanuel on Wednesday morning, trying to draw attention to their push for more personal protective equipment. Turlock hospital nurses are still calling for one-time use of N95 masks, but management suggests wearing the same while treating different patients, regardless of whether they have COVID-19 or not, said Raechel Bairos, registered nurse and spokesperson. of the union.

Doctors nurses say they must use recycled N95 masks.

In the emergency room, Bairos said he currently sees a wave of COVID-19 patients who are sicker and require more care than before during the pandemic. No age group appears to be overrepresented, Barios said, and patients typically arrive with breathing difficulties, fever, chills, and loss of taste or smell.

The hospital does not inform nurses how often patients die from COVID-19, Bairos said, adding that management has yet to notify her of exposure to the virus through a colleague who has contracted it. Nurses have no idea how many colleagues are getting sick, he said.

“Even within our department, we don’t know if anyone tests positive unless they specifically tell us,” Bairos said.

Bairos said the workload varies on different floors, but each nurse is assigned to about four patients, some of whom have COVID-19 and others with other medical conditions. Nurses are asking that these ratios be reduced to one nurse for every one or two COVID-19 patients, he said.

The parent company of Medici and Emanuel released a statement on Wednesday: “While we value all our nurses represented by (National Nurses United), we are disappointed that the union is taking this action. The requests for COVID-19 have put a strain on all hospitals in California and we continue to be committed to protecting the health and safety of our patients and staff. “

Hospitals are following guidelines set by the California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the statement adds.

The statement also expressed “immense pride in the extraordinary professionalism and dedication that our doctors, nurses and other staff have demonstrated every day in the care of our COVID-19 patients. This work was not easy, but they took up the challenge during this unprecedented pandemic. “

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Ken Carlson covers county government and health care for The Modesto Bee. His coverage of public health, medicine, consumer health issues, and health care business has appeared on The Bee for 15 years.




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