The number of people hospitalized due to severe sickness from contacting COVID-19 has soared 59 percent in just a day.
The San Joaquin County Health Department as of noon Tuesday reported there were 43 people in various hospitals throughout the county with COVID-19. That compares to 27 at mid-day on Monday.
It represents by far the biggest single day of hospital admissions at 16. It is also the highest number ever in the hospital at one time due to COVID-19.
San Joaquin is among nine counties in California experiencing spikes in new COVID-19 cases or confirmed cases that require hospitalization. State health officials are attributing the jumps in some counties to recent gatherings such as birthday parties, a funeral, massive protests, as well as Memorial Day weekend gatherings where social distancing was not practiced.
The hardest hit area in San Joaquin County continues to be the core of Stockton. The next highest area for cases is Tracy followed by Manteca.
As of Tuesday, Manteca has had 113 or less than a tenth of all confirmed cases of people being ill with COVID-19 whether it requires hospitalization or being quarantined at home. That includes 58 in the 95336 Zip Code and 55 in the 95337 Zip Code. Manteca by comparison has 12 percent of the county’s population.
How many of those cases represent people that are currently ill is unknown.
Lathrop has had 47 confirmed cases and Ripon 18.
The numbers are of cases where someone is confirmed to be sick from COVID-19 as opposed to all who have tested positive and are showing no symptoms.
Overall 14 days there have been a “rolling” number of COVID-19 cases in San Joaquin County of 334.
There have been 1,195 confirmed cases since the start of March. Of those, 794 have recovered meaning 401 people out of 760,000 residents are currently ill with COVID-19.
The county reported two more deaths Tuesday bring the number succumbing to COVID-19 in San Joaquin County to 39.
While an increase in hospitalizations was expected as reopening has taken place it is substantially below peaks in projections experts made if social distancing wasn’t imposed and under the stay at home and social distancing measures that were put in place.
There were 43 people ill enough with COVID-19 to be in San Joaquin County hospitals as of Tuesday. That is in stark contrast with the 768 new cases requiring hospital admissions that had been projected on the peak day of April 30 under the model county health officials have been using if aggressive stay at home orders and social distancing had not been implemented.
The same experts who made that model projected with social distancing daily hospital admissions would peak at 299 on May 30.
There have been 15 confirmed outbreaks in San Joaquin. Forty percent have been in skilled nursing homes. In addition 40 percent are from community outbreaks or people moving around the community versus 20 percent from congregate outbreaks or people staying in confined spaces such as households.
There have been no new outbreaks reported by the county during the past week. That means current COVID-19 cases have been traced are connected to those that were exposed from known outbreaks.
In many instances the tracing goes through those exposed to a person but have shown no signs of COVID-19 and may never get ill from it. That underscores the advice of health officials that people venturing out into stores and other public places should wear face masks as it could prevent them from becoming unwitting transmitters of the virus that can make others sick.
Cases in Sacramento
tied to recent gatherings
In Sacramento County, which had 33 hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients and 14 in its intensive care units as of Tuesday, health officials said the spike in infections is tied to recent gatherings, including birthday parties and a funeral.
State officials reported only a modest increase in hospitalizations statewide on Tuesday. California has had 133,489 total confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 4,697 deaths linked to it since the beginning of the pandemic.
Dr. Olivia Kasirye, Sacramento Cunty's public health officer, is advising against all gatherings other than for religious services and protests. She warned that parties in homes are particularly worrisome; they can be dangerous because there is less room for social distancing and they can last for several hours.
"Because people are meeting with people they already know they tend to be more relaxed and not wear the face coverings and do not remember to do frequent hand washing or sanitizing," she said.
The county, like most others in California, has allowed restaurants to reopen for dine-in service, but Kasirye said only individuals within a household should go out or gather together. County officials are advising against events like cookouts and family get-togethers with people who are not part of a household.
"They need to remain within their own family unit," she said, although the county cannot enforce the recommendations.
Current hospitalization figures in Sacramento are still well below the county's peak of sick patients in early April. "Even with the spike, we still have ample capacity" in hospitals, Kasirye said.
Eight other counties that have partially reopened are also seeing an increasing spread of the disease or more hospitalizations. The reasons vary, according to the California Department of Public Health.
In Fresno County, there is "elevated disease transmission" in skilled nursing facilities, the state said. Imperial County is seeing more cases as U.S. citizens cross the Mexican border seeking healthcare. San Bernardino is seeking a spike after gatherings for May holidays and outbreaks at prisons, jails and some skilled nursing facilities.
The state is also watching San Joaquin, Tulare, Santa Clara and Los Angeles counties for increases in cases or hospitalizations.
Sacramento County has 30 contact tracers on staff. They interview people who have tested positive for coronavirus and reach out to family and friends to determine who else may have been exposed over two weeks.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
Associated Press contributed to this story.