Message from Health Officer Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman
- 17% decrease in the number of tests done last week compared to the week before – from 4.53% of the population down to 3.78%
- 22% decrease in case rate – from 48.3 to 37.8
- Increase in the percent positivity from 8.22% to 8.31%
- 9% increase in hospitalizations from 127 to 139
- Increase in deaths with 15 this week compared to 10 last week
Looking at the data, the decrease in case rate is a positive sign but there’s a reason to be cautious. Fewer people were tested last week and the percent positivity was a little higher, which means that the drop in case rate was largely due to fewer people getting tested. If there was less spread we would have also expected to see the percent positivity go down, which didn’t happen.
At the same time, the hospital census for COVID is minimally affected by testing in the community since people who are sick enough will go to the hospital whether or not they were tested. Our hospitalizations continue to rise and the current hospitalizations reflect COVID infections from approximately two weeks ago when our case rate averaged in the mid-30s. Having a case rate in the 30s continues to put pressure on our hospitals.
Deaths are going up and we now have 322 deaths in the county which, based on 2018 data, would make COVID the third leading cause of death in the county.
We expect the case rate to go down this week since there will be much less testing available during the Christmas weekend, a pattern we saw due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Despite this, we anticipate that there will be more spread due to the holidays, if families and friends come together despite all the warnings.