Sonoma County, which approved more than 1,000 COVID-19 cases Thursday alone, will likely reach double that number by the end of July, according to county projections, as more businesses reopen and people travel outside their homes.
Dr. Sundari Mase, Sonoma County Health Officer, has consistently warned of more infections as shelter-in-place restrictions were lifted and local residents returned to circulation.
But the sharp increase in county-wide broadcasts in the weeks since large-scale commercial activity resumed has proven surprising to many, however.
By Saturday, the county had released at least 1,092 positive COVID cases, compared to 564 when the month began, according to public health officials. And the bill will continue to go up, Mase told county supervisors last week, “because more cases cause more cases.”
The county’s “doubling rate,” or the speed with which those 1,000 should become 2,000 cases, stood at 29 days on Friday.
State models released last week project that the county could have up to 70 COVID-related deaths in late July. As of Saturday I had five.
The county is still working on more personalized models locally.
But Mase said residents can affect the intensity of the increase in any number depending on how carefully they comply with health orders that require facial coverage, social distancing and other mitigation measures such as consumers, business owners and social creatures.
Case numbers also depend on how successfully health officials and institutional managers under his leadership contain the existing outbreaks that have helped fuel the recent rise in infections.
They include at least 29 cases from Crossing the Jordan, a residential recovery program funded by thrift stores and other companies that recently closed; outbreaks at various senior care centers that infected at least 40 workers and residents, including the Broadway Villa Skilled Nursing Facility, where 12 patients had been infected at the last check-up; and large groups in the disproportionately affected Latino community, which now represents 75% of overall cases despite representing more than 27% of the county’s population.
“There are a lot of moving parts in this. There are many unknowns, “Mase told supervisors. “We are doing everything we can to mitigate transmissions in these large outbreak configurations. But again, because COVID is so transmissible, one case leads to more cases leads to more cases.”
The county entered June amid a steady upward trend that worried Mase enough that she paused briefly to reopen new economic sectors, although other California counties proceeded apace.
Memorial Day weekend had just passed, bringing with it a plethora of tourists who had never strayed and who were given more reason to visit when dining al fresco was allowed in restaurants, wineries and breweries in the region. . Many of Sonoma County’s destination parks had also recently reopened.
But after a two-week hiatus, the reopening of Sonoma County accelerated, in part due to pressure from county supervisors, as well as industry stakeholders eager to miss the summer. There were also concerns about high unemployment, months of lost income, high stress levels, and related social illnesses, factors highlighted by Sheriff Mark Essick in late May, when he briefly withdrew his enforcement of restrictions department. health related to the county pandemic that went beyond state regulations.
Sonoma County has reopened most business sectors, except the most risky ones that involve large gatherings, such as concerts and theatrical productions, indoor pools and spas, festivals, and active indoor recreation such as skating rinks and laser tag .
Social gatherings over the age of 12 are also prohibited, and all activities and businesses are allowed only with strict mitigations including general hygiene, disinfection, health screenings, physical distancing, and other measures designed to curb the transmission of disease.
But even as new swaths of the local economy woke up, an increasing number of infections were recorded, breaking daily records of new cases. On Monday, there were 50 new cases, the current record. On Saturday, there were 49 after there were 37 on Friday.
“We are having a lot of cases,” Mase said at his press conference on Friday. “Fifty cases in a day is a lot. (Thursday) was 32 years old. I don’t think it is completely unexpected. I think we should also follow our other metrics, ”including hospitalization and mortality, which remain relatively low.
The expansion of COVID-19 transmission in Sonoma County overlaps with an alarming increase across the country that caused the country and at least 12 states, including California, to set new single-day records last week and threaten with overwhelming hospitals in specially affected states like Florida, Texas and Arizona.