Calaveras County Public Health has confirmed 13 new cases of COVID-19the highest number of cases reported in a single day since the onset of the pandemic. 

On Tuesday, the health department reported eight new cases, prompting Health Officer Dean Kelaita, MD, to warn residents that a dramatic increase in hospitalizations could overwhelm the system and reverse the reopening process in the county.

Despite repeated inquiries from the Enterprise, Public Health has not disclosed the number of COVID-19 related hospitalizations that have occurred in the county.

State-compiled data show two total hospitalizations have occurred within the county, though the county-specific numbers do not appear to be up-to-date. 

Some jurisdictions have routinely released their number of hospitalizations as public information, with Tuolumne County reporting one hospitalization out of 30 total confirmed cases 

There have been no COVID-19-related deaths reported in Calaveras County, and 18 cases have since recovered, according to Public Health. 

The following press release was issued by Public Health on July 2:

Calaveras Public Health continues to experience an alarming and accelerating trend of community spread in the County. On Thursday, July 2, 2020, Calaveras Public Health reported 13 additional cases of COVID-19. This is the largest increase of positive cases in any reporting period in the County since the pandemic began.

“As we enter the Fourth of July holiday weekend, it is important for the public to refrain from group activities and large scale gatherings that have been shown to spread COVID-19 infection”, says Dr. Dean Kelaita, Calaveras County Health Officer. “What we are seeing in Calaveras County continues to be a significant outbreak of COVID-19 in several regions of our community. Widespread community transmission is now taking place throughout Calaveras. I want to emphasize the critical importance of people taking proper precautions and act as if everyone you come in contact with has COVID,” said Dr. Dean Kelaita. “If things continue at this rate, we are in very serious risk of overwhelming our local hospital and limited ICU capacity. If this trajectory of disease continues, the virus is on the cusp of spiraling completely out of control in the Foothills”, the doctor added.

“If you must be out, practice physical distancing and wear a cloth face covering at all times you are around others,” said Dr. Kelaita. “Additional community mitigation actions will be reintroduced if these disease trends continue”. These are the actions such as the forced closing of businesses, restaurants, wineries, and other group gatherings like we have seen in neighboring counties. The State or a county Health Officer may impose orders that are directed at protecting the health of the public.

Kelaita went on to add that the simple and scientifically effective methods that the public can do prevent the transmission of coronavirus within our community are wearing a cloth face covering when going out in public, hand washing and using hand sanitizer, as well as maintaining physical distance of at least 6 feet between all non-household members at all times. Those at higher risk of complications from COVID-19 are encouraged to avoid going out unless absolutely necessary. “It has never been more important for the community to do these simple actions every day, so we can beat this pandemic and protect the most vulnerable members of our community”, Kelaita concluded.

The best ways to avoid exposure to the virus are to:

• Stay at least 6 feet away from people outside of your household

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

• Wear a face covering over your nose and mouth if you are in public and around other people

To date, Calaveras Public Health has reported fifty-three confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of those confirmed cases, eighteen cases have since recovered. There have been no reported deaths to COVID-19 in Calaveras County at this time.

Test Results Received 2812 Recovered 18 Deaths 0 TOTAL CONFIRMED CASES 53

Calaveras Public Health staff is investigating the new cases to determine any possible persons who may have had close personal contact with the positive individuals. Close contacts may be contacted by the health department, assessed and monitored for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 illness.

No-cost testing for COVID-19 is available to anyone who would like to get one. The OptumServe COVID-19 testing site located at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds is open Tuesday-Saturday from 7:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. Testing is available to those age 12 and older. Walk-ins are not accepted at this time. People are highly encouraged to register online by going to www.lhi.care/covidtesting. People without internet access should call (888) 634-1123. Starting July 7, the testing site will expand its hours from 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. Tuesday-Saturday.

Symptoms can appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

• Fever or chills

• Cough

• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

• Fatigue

• Muscle or body aches

• Headache

• New loss of taste or smell

• Sore throat

• Congestion or runny nose

• Nausea or vomiting

• Diarrhea

COVID-19 case details will be updated as the information is obtained. To receive information and resources related to COVID-19 visit the Calaveras County COVID-19 website at https://covid19.calaverasgov.us. Follow Calaveras Public Health on Facebook www.facebook.com/calaveraspublichealth/

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Dakota graduated from Bret Harte in 2013 and went to Davidson College, NC where she earned a bachelor's degree in Arab studies. After spending time studying in the Middle East and Europe, she is happy to be home, writing about the community she loves.

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