Two other residents of Sonoma County have died from coronavirus complications, leading to seven deaths per area of the infectious disease since it emerged here in early March, the county’s chief public health official said on Monday.
County health official Dr. Sundari Mase said deaths occurred on Sunday and Monday. The two people were residents of a specialized nursing center and a residential nursing home, and she would not have mentioned any of the two facilities.
Mase also refused to say where they died or to disclose demographic information about them or how, where and when they contracted the highly contagious virus.
The two additional deaths are a vivid reminder that the stubborn virus is still circulating in the community despite larger tests, exhaustive tracing of close contacts with those infected and deliberate public health measures that require people to wear face cover and stay in 6 feet from anyone, but from the immediate family. And the times follow a couple of weeks of discomfort for mounting cases locally, and concerns arise that parts of California are losing considerable ground to the pathogen. So much so that the governor started retiring from the alcoholic beverage suppliers over the weekend.
The county reported the sixth and seventh local deaths just a week after the fifth COVID-1
The man, also a resident of a specialized treatment center, had been transferred to a hospital less than 24 hours before his death. Previous coronavirus-related deaths, which occurred on May 11, May 3, April 10, and March 20, all involved an elderly person in poor health, county health officials said.
Mase has repeatedly refused to disclose the name of the specialized care site where the man who was the fifth local resident to die from the virus had lived.
However, data from the California Department of Public Health show that Broadway Villa Post Acute, a qualified nursing and therapeutic facility in Sonoma, reported to the state on June 22 – one day after death – a death related to a resident had occurred with COVID-19.
On Sunday, Broadway Villa reported that it had 14 residents tested positive for COVID-19 and a cumulative total of 17 confirmed cases. He also reported at least one case among his staff.
Qualified nursing care sites are required to report all residents or staff who are positive for the highly contagious virus, as well as coronavirus-related deaths, to the state health department within 24 hours.
Mike Empey, executive director of Broadway Villa, did not respond to calls or respond to Monday’s emails or numerous attempts to reach him last week.
Susan Gorin, chairman of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, expressed her condolences to the families of the last two victims of the county because of the elusive virus.
“The populations of skilled nursing facilities are among the most vulnerable nationally,” said Gorin.
In fact, Mase last week revealed that there have been 40 infections in the area’s elderly living sites since June 1, including 21 residents in qualified nursing or residential care centers and 19 staff members.
News of local deaths came amid concerns over the growing number of confirmed cases in the county and throughout California.
On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom said that virus-related hospitalizations have increased by about 43% in the past two weeks, although he added that the state still had beds to treat additional patients. Newsom also said that the state’s positivity rate, the share of the overall positive test results, has increased from 4.4% to 5.5% in the past 14 days. And he said new infections increased 45% in seven days.
In Sonoma County, the figure that most worries Mase, the health agent, is the steadily increasing number of infections per 100,000 residents. As of Monday, the county has recorded a 14-day case rate of 72.8 cases per 100,000 residents.
This rate has increased rapidly due to recent spikes in cases, including another 75 cases over the weekend. Just since the end of last week, the case rate for 100,000 has passed its new level of 61.7.
At the start of the pandemic that began in March, Mase said that something larger than 25 local cases per 100,000 residents would be cause for concern, and if other key measures to track the spread of the virus have worsened, it could be cause to take consider restoring business or public restrictions.
In early June, there were 564 COVID-19 infections across the county and the rampant transmission doubled the number. On June 22, the county released 50 new cases, the most reported in a single day since the first local resident case emerged on March 2.
Most recently, Mase looked at the state county monitoring list, which lists the premises that do not meet state level benchmarks to contain the virus, and therefore state health officials are working with local officials to help bring them into conformity. There are now 19 counties on that list, but not Sonoma County.
However, Mase said on Monday that she was concerned because the spike in new cases means that the county is approaching 100 cases per 100,000 residents, the threshold that would likely put this county on the state’s “checklist” along with the other counties with the montage of coronavirus cases.
Mase said state officials will recommend certain business closings for counties that are on the list for at least three days. The state can force arrest for counties on the monitoring list for 14 days, he said.
Indeed, Sunday Newsom ordered the closure of bars, breweries and breweries that do not serve food in seven of the counties that the state is monitoring. On Monday, the governor warned if the transmission of the virus continues to cause cases and hospitalizations in some areas, it will move to closed sectors of activity that have been reopened.
Mase said he is closely watching an increase in local hospitalizations. According to the dashboard of the county’s COVID-19 hospital, the county has experienced nearly double the number of patients in need of hospital treatment for contagion since last week. Coronavirus-related hospital admissions advanced from seven to twelve on Sunday.
“It’s a big jump in percentage, but it’s only five additional hospitalizations,” he said. “When the numbers are so low, I don’t think we would look so much at the percentage jump.”
You can contact the Staff Writer Martin Espinoza at 707-521-5213 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @pressreno.