Yolo County remains deeply purple in the state’s color-tiered COVID-19 framework with virus cases here continuing to surge.
New numbers unveiled by the state Tuesday show the county’s adjusted daily new case rate was 20.9 for the week ending Nov. 18, up from 17.4 the week before and more than three times the rate of 6.7 two weeks ago. A daily new case rate of 7 per 100,000 residents is the threshold for entering the purple tier.
Meanwhile, the county’s test positivity rate also rose from 6.7 percent for the week ending Nov. 11 to 7.2 percent the following week.
The county’s own data shows both the daily new case rate and the test positivity rate have only increased further since Nov. 18.
What’s happening in Yolo County is happening across the state. As of Tuesday, 45 of the state’s 58 counties are now in the purple tier and no counties remain in the least restrictive yellow tier.
Cases in California are growing faster than ever, Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s secretary of health and human services, said Tuesday.
“We are truly in the midst of a surge,” he said.
That surge in positive cases that began in late October is now impacting hospitals as well, with COVID-19 hospitalizations up statewide by 81.2 percent over the last 14 days, Ghaly said.
“We know that 12 percent of today’s cases end up hospitalized in two to three weeks,” said Ghaly, so the pressure on hospitals from infections that began two to three weeks ago will continue to grow alongside the explosion in new cases.
ICU hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients are also rising, up by 57.1 percent over the last two weeks.
“Hospital systems are stretched,” said Ghaly. “When you see the numbers more than double in just under three weeks we’re concerned.”
Locally, Yolo County reported 12 county residents hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Monday, well below the more than 20 hospitalized at different times during the pandemic previously.
The county’s two hospitals — Sutter Davis and Woodland Memorial — have surge capacity in the event of increased demand for ICU beds due to COVID-19, according to Jenny Tan, the county’s public information officer.
Tan said both hospitals can open up additional wings with additional ICU beds “if we get a surge of residents who need it.”
“Also the county can work with other counties and hospitals outside of our area if there is a lack of beds… if we truly run out of space,” she said Monday. “So don’t think that if you are in an emergency or need an ICU bed that because of COVID there won’t be any for you.”
Just as hospitalizations lag behind new cases by two to three weeks, so, too, do deaths lag behind hospitalizations. Ghaly said Tuesday the number of COVID-19 deaths in California per day could well reach unprecedented numbers in the weeks and months ahead.
Thus far in the month of November, Yolo County has reported 14 COVID-19 deaths, nearly a fifth of all deaths since the pandemic began. Likewise, the 964 new cases reported in November represent nearly 23 percent of all coronavirus cases here since March.
The cities of Woodland and West Sacramento continue to report the most cases on a daily basis but no community in Yolo County has been spared. Seventeen new cases were reported in Davis on Monday alone.
The city of Winters has now seen 178 residents test positive for COVID-19, more than 36 of them in November. The latest cases in Winters have occurred in all age groups, but more than half were individuals under age 55, something mirrored by the rest of the county.
Throughout the state, in fact, 60 percent of all cases are occurring in individuals between the ages of 18 and 49, according to Ghaly.
“Yet they make up only 7 percent of those who have the worst outcomes and death in our state,” he said, reiterating the need for younger, healthier California residents who are more likely to be asymptomatic to protect the elderly and vulnerable in California.
In Yolo County, rampant community spread of the virus has been linked to outbreaks in several skilled nursing facilities lately, where employees likely bring the virus in after contracting it in the community.
Outbreaks were reported at skilled nursing facilities in Woodland and West Sacramento last week and now another outbreak is underway at a Davis facility.
Courtyard Healthcare Center, which had reported a total of 12 COVID-19 cases earlier in the pandemic, reported on its website Sunday that number had increased to 43, with 27 residents and 16 staff members having tested positive. Seven residents and six staff members have recovered, the message said.
“We share this information because we believe it is important to everyone’s health and well-being to keep our residents, families, staff and the public fully informed,” Courtyard said.
“In this new world of COVID-19, rest assured we are aggressively treating and responding to potential community exposures by conducting routine testing of all our residents and staff until such time as a vaccine becomes available or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention instructs otherwise.”
Courtyard is one of 10 longterm care facilities in Yolo County where COVID-19 outbreaks have been reported.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the county has attributed 282 cases of the virus and 42 deaths to longterm care facilities.