Two New Coronavirus Deaths Leave County Officials Concerned

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The deaths of two residents of county senior care centers in the past two days, and rising hospitizations, have county health officials concerned about a more general surge in transmission across Sonoma County.

The deaths bring to 7 the number of lives lost to the coronavirus in Sonoma County.  They also underscore a recent spread of the virus into regional senior care centers.  Last week the public health officer reported 40 new infections in those centers had occurred since June 1st.

All of this comes as the county, and state, are seeing a rise in reported cases.  Sonoma County now has detected 1136 cases through testing and contract tracing.

A key metric health officials are following is the case rate in the last two week period.  In recent weeks, Sonoma County has gone from around 40 cases in a two week period, to 74 cases as of Tuesday.   At the same time, Sonoma County is now testing 1 thousand people in a typical day, more than ever, and the positivity rate, or the percent of those tests that come back positive has remained relatively stable at just over 2 percent. That number is well below the state level that recently surged above 5 percent.

Meantime, the coronavirus death rate of 1 in 70 thousand Sonoma County residents, another key metric, continues be lower than nearby Bay Area counties like Marin or Napa.


Perhaps more troubling in Sonoma County is the rise in hospitalizations, which rose from 7 to 12 in a four day stretch late last week.  Still, Sonoma County’s hospitalizations are currently well below what the local health care system can handle.

Meantime, the state of California is seeking a surge of both cases, and hospitalizations.  The 14 day total of new cases is up 43 percent.

And hospitalizations and ICU admissions also on the rise statewide.

And new state modeling indicates that hospitalizations statewide may rise dramatically by the end of July.  The blue line in the graph is the “ensemble” or most likely outcome based on the range of different models.

As the two week tally of county cases continues to rise, Sonoma County may be put on a state watch list of counties that are failing to meet state guidelines.  That generally comes when the county records 100 or more cases per 100 thousand residents over a two week period.

If this happens, some of the reopening that has occurred may be re-examined, either by the county health officer, or the state.  This past week Governor Newsom ordered the closing of some bars and brewpubs in 7 counties and urged local officials to take similar action in a handful of others.

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