California COVID death toll tops 90,000

The official death toll from COVID-19 in California has surpassed 90,000, as the state faces a fifth wave of infections that is still on the rise, but not translating into a sharp increase in deaths, just yet.

The California Department of Public Health reported Friday that 90,117 Californians have died from the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic more than two years ago, adding 160 new deaths since its previous update on Tuesday.

The mark comes as the United States tops 1 million deaths from the virus.

Although the numbers continue to surpass previously unthinkable milestones, the seven-day average number of COVID-19 deaths in California dropped to about 11 in the week ending April 21, the most recent with complete data available.

Aside from a five-day span last June, the latest weekly average death toll is the lowest on record in California since the early days of the pandemic in March 2020. The death rate has been steadily declining since the point height of the omicron wave in winter, CDPH figures show.

The 2020 winter surge, which began before vaccines were widely available, killed nearly 700 Californians a day at its peak in January 2021. The death rate peaked at nearly 260 a day during the surge of the omicron variant last winter and about 140 a day during the delta surge in the summer.

Transmission of COVID-19 is highest in the Bay Area

However, coronavirus transmission numbers are rising rapidly, both nationally and within California, where infection rates remain highest in the Bay Area.

The statewide case rate, which dropped to 5.2 per 100,000 in March, rose again to 18.5 per 100,000. population as of Friday’s state health update. Positivity bottomed out at 1.2% in late March, but is now up to 4.4%.

Both metrics are up 26% in the past week, and are at their highest point since mid-February.

San Francisco had the highest case rate among California counties, at 40 cases per 100,000. population,

Behind San Francisco in case rate are San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, each with 35 cases per 100,000. population; Santa Cruz, with 34; Sonoma, Alameda and Marin, with 29; Humboldt, with 28, and Contra Costa, with 25.

Most Sacramento-area counties are above the California average for positivity rate: Yuba County was at 7.5%, Placer at 7.3%, Sacramento at 6.8%, and El Dorado County at 6.2. %. Sutter County tied with the state at 4.4%.

These counties, however, were all below the state median in the per capita case rate as of Friday. That disparity reflects a decline in local testing volume, especially compared to the Bay Area.

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 are rising steadily, with 1,339 positive patients in hospital beds as of Friday’s state data update, a 32% increase in the past two weeks and the most since late March.

The total in intensive care units (ICU) has remained practically stable since mid-April, fluctuating around 150 patients; CDPH reported 162 patients in ICUs with the virus on Friday.

Both figures remain small fractions compared to the height of the omicron in the winter, when California hospitals treated more than 15,000 coronavirus patients, including about 2,600 in ICUs. Hospital trends often lag a couple of weeks behind case trends.

The health authorities continue to insist on the importance of vaccination and reinforcements.

For the most recent week for which data is available, CDPH said unvaccinated Californians were approximately five times more likely to become infected, seven times more likely to be hospitalized, and eight times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those who were vaccinated and with reinforcement.

About 83% of Californians age five and older are at least partially vaccinated, but only 41% have received a booster dose, including only 59% of those who are fully vaccinated and within the time period eligible to receive the booster, according to the most recent state health data.

BA.2.12.1 rising prominently in the Sacramento area

Health authorities say the recent rise in cases is largely due to a pair of highly contagious omicron sub-variants known as BA.2 and BA.2.12.1.

BA.2.12.1, which is the more communicable of the two, is currently more entrenched on the East Coast, but its prevalence continues to grow across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). , which update variant prevalence data weekly on Tuesdays.

Dr. Aimee Sisson, a Yolo County health officer, told The Sacramento Bee in an email this week that BA.2.12.1 accounted for 35% of positive cases of the virus between May 1 and May 7 in the UC Davis campus, and the same percentage for cases detected in the Healthy Yolo Together testing network.

This is a higher prevalence for the upward variant than the estimated 24% by the CDC for the same week in the region that includes California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii and the island territories.

Yolo County, which has one of the most rigorous testing networks in California, has seen its positivity rate more than quadruple, from 0.6% to 2.5% since the beginning of April.

Outbreaks multiply in Sacramento schools

Numerous Sacramento-area schools have reported outbreaks or large spikes in virus cases in recent weeks.

At least 20 schools in the four-county capital area reported having 15 or more active cases of COVID-19 at some point this week, a review of virus data tables for public elementary school districts found. including nine schools with at least 25 cases and six with at least 30.

Mesa Verde High School in Citrus Heights reported 46 active cases of COVID-19 among students and three among employees, according to a Friday morning update from San Juan Unified. Mary Deterding Elementary in Carmichael had 43 active cases among students and three among staff members, according to the San Juan data table.

Davis Senior High had 38 cases, 36 among students plus two among staff. Americano High had 32 (28 students, four staff members), followed by Folsom High with 31 (24 students, seven staff members) as of Wednesday and Monterey Trail High with 30 (28 students, two staff members) as of Thursday. , according to the respective districts of those schools. Monterey Trail’s caseload is the highest this academic year, according to data from Elk Grove Unified.

Mesa Verde, Rio Americano, Folsom and Monterey Trail each held at least one school dance in late April, with several other schools ranging from 15 to 30 active cases. Monterey Trail held a spring dance on April 22nd and their senior dance on April 30th.

CK McClatchy High recently reported a cluster of 50 cases, of which 21 attended the prom on April 23; McClatchy had 15 active cases, all among students, according to Friday’s update to the Sacramento City Unified table.

In recent statements, district officials said transmission from prom or similar events is difficult to trace because of overlapping social contacts between students.

However, the trends raise concern amid a series of large end-of-year gatherings planned for the coming weeks, including graduation ceremonies.

In mid-March, California ended its requirement for face coverings to be worn indoors on elementary campuses.

Sacramento area figures by county

Sacramento County’s latest case rate is 14.7 cases per 100,000 population, state health officials reported in Friday’s update, an increase of 44% from the previous week.

Sacramento County hospitals treated 77 patients with the virus Thursday, according to state data, up from 67 a week earlier. The total in intensive care units (ICUs) dropped from 11 to nine.

Placer County’s latest case rate is 13.9 per 100,000 population, an increase of 59% from the previous week.

Placer County hospitals treated 35 patients with the virus Thursday, up from 23 the previous week. The total in ICUs was reduced from four to one.

Yolo County’s latest case rate is 16.8 per 100,000 population, an increase of 19% from the previous week.

Yolo County hospitals treated three patients with the virus Thursday, up from two the previous Thursday. The total in the ICUs was zero on both days.

El Dorado County’s latest case rate is 10 per 100,000 population, an increase of 24% from the previous week.

Hospitals in El Dorado County treated six patients with the virus Thursday, up from two the previous week. The total in ICUs increased to two from zero.

Sutter County’s latest case rate is 6.2 per 100,000 and Yuba County’s is 9.5 per 100,000, state health officials said Friday. The case rate in Juba increased by 95% in the last week, while Sutter’s decreased by 4%.

The only hospital in Yuba County, serving the Yuba-Sutter bicounty area, was treating four virus patients Thursday, the same as a week earlier. The total in the ICU dropped from one to zero.

The CDC classifies all six Sacramento-area counties as a “low” community tier for COVID-19. Sacramento and Yolo recently re-entered the high level for “transmission” of COVID-19, according to an independent classification system maintained by the CDC.

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