COVID takes more lives in Yolo County; testing delays hamper efforts to stem spread
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COVID takes more lives in Yolo County; testing delays hamper efforts to stem spread

A coronavirus outbreak at a residential facility for the developmentally disabled in Woodland has taken three lives in recent days.

They include the only Yolo County resident under the age of 55 to have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began. That individual, whose death was reported Sunday, was between the ages of 45 and 54.

A total of six residents and four staff members have tested positive at Woodland Residential Services, an intermediate care facility that serves vulnerable and high-risk individuals who are developmentally disabled, need nursing or rehabilitative care and live in a congregate setting.

The family-owned company, in operation since 2002, operates seven intermediate care facilities and a day program, according to its website.

The facility has been working closely with county health officials to stem the outbreak, Brian Vaughn, the county’s public health director, told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, an outbreak at 4th & Hope in Woodland has taken a life as well. The 凯发体育官方sporthomeless shelter has seen 13 residents test positive for COVID-19 as well as one staff member.

Efforts are now underway to use CARES act funding to get many of those 凯发体育官方sporthomeless individuals out of congregate settings and into individual hotel rooms.

In his presentation to county supervisors on Tuesday, Vaughn said multiple outbreaks have been confirmed in other locations as well, including one religious institution and six workplaces.

As of Tuesday, the county has reported 1,200 cases of the novel coronavirus, Vaughn said, as well as 34 deaths.

The majority of those deaths — 20 of them — have come in skilled nursing and longterm care facilities, including 17 at the Stollwood Convalescent Hospital and now three at Woodland Residential Services.

Outbreaks continue at three skilled nursing facilities in the county — the Alderson Convalescent Hospital in Woodland (20 cases), Courtyard Healthcare in Davis (10 cases) and Riverbend Nursing Center in West Sacramento (five cases).

Another 18 open investigations into possible outbreaks are underway, Vaughn said, and most have a common denominator.

“We think Ground Zero … was social and family gatherings,” said Vaughn.

People were infected in such gatherings and then took the virus elsewhere, such as workplaces, “and now it’s spread out across multiple sectors,” Vaughn said.

As of Monday, 288 county residents have been placed in quarantine after having come in contact with someone with the virus and 70 individuals are in isolation after testing positive, Vaughn said.

County officials have previously explained that only a fraction of the hundreds of county residents who have tested positive in the last two weeks are in isolation because of issues with testing and contact tracing.

Vaughn said Tuesday that the delay in getting testing results back remains substantial.

“We do continue to see significant testing result delays for the bulk or our testing,” Vaughn said. “That in combination with the volume of new cases … has made contact tracing pretty difficult because we are seeing test results that are often 10, 14 days late, which makes it impossible to get ahead of the virus.”

For that reason, he said, Yolo County may join several other counties in shifting strategies by focusing testing and contact tracing efforts on the highest risk populations, including those in skilled nursing facilities, 凯发体育官方sporthomeless shelters, schools and child care operations and local industries that are experiencing significant outbreaks, such as agriculture, manufacturing and food processing.

Focus will also be on disproportionately affected communities and populations, including Latinos and the city of Woodland, which has experienced half of all cases reported in the county.

For those in the low risk category, Vaughn said, “what we’re trying to do now is get out guidelines for when people get tested, to give them information right then so that if they get a positive result or they are symptomatic and waiting for a result, they know what to do in terms of quarantining or isolating themselves, not exposing others. Because again, it could be seven to 10 days before they get a test result and we don’t want them to rely on us reaching out to them to start doing that.”

Meanwhile, along with the increase in cases has come an increase in hospitalizations, though not at the same rate as new cases, “and some of that has to do with who is getting infected right now,” said Vaughn. “It tends to be younger people right now who are being infected, who aren’t following the guidelines as strictly as other populations.”

That said, “hospitalizations are up and… that’s a lagging indicator so it’s something we’ll want to keep our eyes on as we move forward,” said Vaughn.

“We are talking with the state about setting up alternate care sites should they be needed. But just to emphasize, they are not needed right now. We don’t anticipate them being needed in the next couple of weeks, but we’ll keep our eye on this and certainly want to make sure they’re ready should they be needed going forward.”

Hospital capacity, or lack thereof, was one of the metrics that landed Yolo County on the state’s monitoring list. While hospital bed availability has been adequate, the state’s metric requiring that counties have at least 20 percent of staffed ICU beds available is where Yolo County fell short. In recent days that capacity has ranged from zero to 13 percent.

The other metric the county failed was elevated disease transmission — specifically, the number of cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day period, which has been elevated for weeks.

Being on the state’s monitoring list carries significant ramifications. All counties on the list have had to close multiple indoor activities, including restaurant dining, gyms, hair salons and churches. Additionally, schools in counties on the list will not be able to open for in-person instruction until their counties are off the list for two weeks.

Supervisor Don Saylor of Davis asked Vaughn on Tuesday what it would take for Yolo County to get off the monitoring list.

“We’d have to see a pretty significant drop in the daily number of new cases,” Vaughn said. “We’re averaging 35 right now per day, roughly. I think we’d have to come down to probably 20, 25 to get that number down and then it would still take some time, at least two or three weeks, for that to catch up as well.

“I don’t think we’re anywhere close to being off that monitoring list anytime soon right now.”

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at here.

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