As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in San Joaquin County continues to increase, the already scarce medical resources are getting harder to come by.
In the last week, the number of positive cases in the county has increased by more than 40 percent — jumping from 4,474 cases the day before the Fourth of July holiday to 6,279 cases on Friday. During the same one-week span, the county has also been averaging almost two COVID-19 related deaths each day, increasing from 55 heading into last weekend to 68 on Friday — an increase of almost 24 percent.
While testing has become more widespread throughout the county and access to testing services has become greater, the rising number of those hospitalized because of the virus has also been steadily increasing, rising more than 57 percent in a single week and putting stress on the medical infrastructure for the entire county.
And the influx of patients has overwhelmed the county’s ICU capacity and inching up slowly to test the overall patient capacity of the seven hospitals inside of the county’s borders.
Last week, the county had 5 percent of licensed ICU capacity available from the 99 beds it has spread out across seven hospitals and by Friday had exceeded that capacity by 12 percent. The ICU capacity rose by 7 percent between last Friday and Tuesday, and another 10 percent in the last three days — tapping into the county’s ICU surge capacity.
Almost 72 percent of the overall cases in San Joaquin County are in those under the age of 50, but that large block accounts for only 5.9 percent of the overall deaths that have been recorded. As expected, the virus continues to be deadlier in those above the age of 50, with 36.8 percent of all deaths coming in the age group from 50 to 64, and 57.4 percent of all deaths coming in those aged 65 or older. There have been no deaths in anybody under of the age of 18 in San Joaquin County.
In neighboring Stanislaus County, which saw a major increase in the number of overall cases this week on its COVID-19 dashboard as numbers were updated after the clearing of a backlog of confirmed cases that had already been verified and submitted to the State of California and reflected in the state’s numbers, the age breakdown was similar with roughly 70 percent of all cases are in those under the age of 50.
Looking at a more comprehensive breakdown of ages based on their available data, however, shows that more than 53 percent of all cases in Stanislaus County are in those under the age of 40, and 34 percent are in those under the age of 30. In comparison, San Joaquin County only releases age breakdowns in those from birth to 17 years of age, 18 to 49 years of age, 50 to 64 years of age, and 65 and older.
The alarming increase in the number of cases comes as local school districts are finalizing plans for how school will look when students are scheduled to return to campus next month.
After spending the early part of the summer conducting surveys with parents about their preferences, districts adopted plans based on data that at the time reflected a much different scenario that health experts are currently facing.
Since those plans went into place, the State of California has rolled back previous concessions, including in-person dining in restaurants and has closed bars and winery tasting rooms in 19 of the hardest hit counties that are home to 70 percent of the state’s population.
More stringent guidelines and enforcement of existing orders such as the requirement to wear masks were also commonplace across Northern California this week as communities took steps to control the spread of the virus.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email email@example.com or call 209.249.3544.