With the number of positive COVID-19 cases on the rise throughout San Joaquin County, local leaders and officials are urging residents and businesses to adhere to health and safety guidelines set forth by the California Department of Public Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Over the last two weeks we have seen the number of people admitted to the hospital in San Joaquin County more than double,” Adventist Health Lodi Memorial Hospital president and chief executive officer Daniel Wolcott said in media statement Friday.
“And in Lodi we have more than a fivefold increase in hospital admissions for COVID-19,” he said.
According to the City of Lodi, 29 people tested positive for COVID-19 at the hospital on Thursday. San Joaquin County Public Health Services’ COVID-19 dashboard at www.sjcphs.org reported that 101 people were being treated for the virus in county hospitals on Friday, including 25 in intensive care.
Three deaths were reported Friday as well, bringing the total to 52, while 3,031 have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March, an increase of 147 from Thursday.
In addition, 199 cases have been reported in Lodi since March.
“At one time we were hopeful that hot weather would wipe out this coronavirus, much like it does for the seasonal flu,” Lodi Mayor Doug Kuehne said. “This virus doesn’t seem to care what season it is, so we need to come together as a city, county, state and country to protect ourselves and each other. Wearing a mask, washing hands frequently and keeping your distance outside the household is an inconvenience, not a sacrifice.”
According to new data from state health officials, San Joaquin County has the sixth-highest rate of spreading COVID-19 in the state. Its latest dashboard, found online at calcat.covid19.ca.gov/cacovidmodels, shows that the county has a current infection rate of 1.24.
That means every person in the county currently infected with COVID-19 is, on average, infecting 1.24 other people, the state said.
The surge in cases and hospitalizations caused two Lodi businesses to close their doors this week for safety precautions.
Lisa Hassett, owner of Frosted Flour, posted on Facebook that her business is temporarily closing to protect her employees, her family and herself.
“It’s crazy, because when everything was shut down ... the numbers are worse now,” she said. “My husband is a cancer survivor, and I don’t want to be exposed to (COVID-19), and I don’t want to expose him, or anyone in my family. What kind of person would I be?”
Hassett was in Arizona this past week visiting a relative, and said her employees had called her to express their fears and concerns of being exposed to the virus as positive cases and hospitalizations continue to climb in California.
She told her six employees to just shut the bakery down, and that she would be returning next week to examine her options for moving forward.
“My girls are like my daughters, and I just can’t have (the guilt) on me,” she said. “I know legally I can be open, but to me, a bakery is not essential. And I don’t feel like a responsible person to make my employees work with this craziness going on.”
When the pandemic first began, Hassett voluntarily closed Frosted Flour to protect her employees and family. When the bakery reopened earlier this month after approval from the state and county, Hassett limited customers inside the store to two people, and required they wear facial coverings.
She also stopped taking cake orders inside the store, requesting customers order over the phone. She said her clientele was happy to comply with the safety measures she put in place.