103 New Cases. Mase: Social Gatherings Fueling Virus Spread

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On Friday Sonoma County recorded its second highest one day coronavirus case total, 103 new positive tests, along with two additional COVID-19 deaths .

This comes amid a surge since late June that has seen the two week case rate double from 75 per 100 thousand residents, to more than 150.

In a Thursday briefing to Sonoma County supervisors, county health officer Dr. Sundari Mase presented this graphic, showing the dramatic rise in the last three weeks.

SONOMA COUNTY TWO WEEK CASE RATE (PER 100 THOUSAND RESIDENTS)

At the same time, Mase said the county’s recent “positivity rate”, or the percent of tests that come back positive, has edged upward to near 6 percent, after being less than 3 percent for months.

This indicator is important, as it shows the rise in positive cases is not only due to increased testing.

Along with this surge has come evidence that community spread and close contact infections, either through unknown sources or backyard and other social gatherings, has helped to fuel the rise.

In recent weeks, as the rate of community spread has grown, there have been so many cases to investigate that the source of many of the infections remains unknown.

So many tests are being conducted in California, more than 120 thousand on some days, that the wait for results can be up to two weeks.  That has hindered the ability of county officials to locate and isolate individuals who have been exposed to a COVID-19 positive person.

In response, the county health office is currently hiring additional staff with a goal to double the number of tests it can process locally within about two weeks.  That may help clear the backlog and allow the most critical tests to be processed within 48 hours.

Meantime, more than 60 COVID-19 patients remain hospitalized in Sonoma County, according to state figures.

And, the latinx community continues to be disproportionately impacted by coronavirus infections, representing two thirds of all known cases.

In a briefing to Sonoma County Supervisors on Thursday, county health officer Dr. Sundari Mase said much of the surge since late June is likely tied to county residents participating in backyard parties and other social gatherings at which face coverings and proper social distancing were ignored.

 

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