There have been 218 new cases of COVID-19 in the past two days in the South County.
That brings the increase in new cases since Friday in Manteca, Tracy, Ripon, Lathrop, and Escalon to 1,851.
The largest outbreak is in Tracy. That community recorded 144 new cases in the past two days for 997 since Friday. Manteca is next with 72 new cases in the past few days for 510 since Friday.
Lathrop had 42 new cases in the last two days for 292 since Friday while Ripon added 19 cases for 85 since Friday.
Escalon had an additional case in the past two days for 20 since Friday.
According to San Joaquin Public Health Officer Dr. Maggie Park while both COVID-19 case rates and hospitalizations from the virus are up, intensive care units are not being overwhelmed as they were during past surges with COVID patients
As of Wednesday the county’s seven hospitals were at 108 percent of licensed capacity but only 42 ICU beds were filled by COVID-19 patients meaning so far the current surge is proving to be not as quite as severe.
That said Park noted the current case rate surge has surpassed both the Inter 2020 and Summer 2021 peaks.
There have been two more deaths in Manteca since Monday to bring the loss to 181. There have been 1,926 deaths countywide since March 2020 when the pandemic started. That includes 33 in Lathrop, 29 in Ripon, 19 in Escalon and 116 in Tracy.
Park told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday that nearly 80 percent of new COVID-19 cases in the state are due to Omicron. Because of the rampant spread of the new variant, testing sites throughout the county are overwhelmed. Park said that increased sites and operating hours have been set up at the following locations:
*The San Joaquin Agricultural Center at 2101 E. Earhart Ave. in Stockton, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
*The former school building at 19 S. Central Ave. in Stockton is increasing hours Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. as well as Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
*San Joaquin General Hospital at 500 W. Hospital Road will increase hours starting Jan. 16 to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Additional sites will soon be established at the Lodi Grape Festival location and Delta College.
Park said one of the biggest concerns at the moment is the ability to staff additional testing and vaccination sites. She noted that in addition to increased testing sites, that the county has ordered 15,000 at-home rapid testing kits and will work to order additional at home collection kits for laboratory analysis while the county waits for an expected 67,000 test kits from the state.
Park will be working with the Board of Supervisors to increase testing capacity including state and federal resources for additional staff, testing sites and testing supplies. Residents are encouraged to check www.SJReady.org or MyTurn.ca.gov to find testing and vaccine locations. When preregistration is an option residents are encouraged to register before arriving at the testing/vaccine sites this may assist with lessening the wait times.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com