STOCKTON — On Tuesday afternoon, San Joaquin County reported a total of 5,600 cases of COVID-19 among its residents — a huge jump from 4,474 cases on Friday, the last time that San Joaquin County Public Health Services updated its data dashboard.
“There has been so much growth that we haven’t been able to update the dashboard until this morning,” Dr. Maggie Park, the county’s public health officer, told the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. “We’re going to try to commit to updating it at least twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays.”
Tuesday’s number of positive COVID-19 tests was an increase of only 149 from Monday, Park said, which was somewhat of a relief, given that cases had been increasing by as much 300 every 24 hours on previous days.
There have been 58 deaths related to COVID-19, an increase of three from Friday. In addition, there have been 55 outbreaks throughout the county. In the past couple of weeks, some of these outbreaks have been traced to large birthday parties, a bridal shower, backyard gatherings and two funerals, Park said.
“Mostly, cases are still community acquired,” she said. “We don’t have a known source of contact yet, or a person has no idea where they contracted it.”
Park referred to the California COVID Assesment Tool, which tracks infection rates throughout the state and in each individual county.
While the state seems to be leveling off at an infection rate of 1.08 — meaning every state resident with COVID-19 is potentially infecting an average of 1.08 other people — San Joaquin County’s infection rate has increased from 1.24 two weeks ago, to 1.32 Tuesday.
San Joaquin County has the sixth-highest infection rate in California, according to the website.
The site also has hospitalization and death forecasts for the county, based on the 1.32 infection rate.
Currently, there are 197 residents being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals throughout the county, and the state’s COVID models predict 320 people could be hospitalized at one time by Aug. 6. The state is projecting a total of 270 deaths by that date, up from the current 58.
There were 44 patients in hospital intensive care units as of Monday, Park said, 24 of whom were using ventilators.
The county’s COVID-19 dashboard reports that there were 301 cases in the 95240 ZIP code, and 106 in the 95242 ZIP code, which include Lodi.
According to the State of California’s COVID-19 portal, Adventist Health Lodi Memorial is treating 37 patients for COVID-19, seven of whom are in the ICU. Another 37 people who were hospitalized at Lodi Memorial were suspected of having COVID-19 and are waiting for test results, according to the site.
Park said the county is conducting an average of 239.3 tests per day, with a 12.3% positive rate. Hospitalization rates are at 14.1%, she said.
She hopes to bring better numbers to the board’s next meeting, Park said, adding that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent announcement to halt all indoor business operations could help do that.
Bars and family entertainment centers in the county have been operating in violation of her stay-at-home orders in recent weeks, Park said, and she hoped Newsom’s mandate last week will ensure those sectors remain closed this time around.
“We don’t know how these closures are going to affect how (the county looks on the COVID-19 watch list),” she said. “Unfortunately, people are still having parties and going camping in large groups. I’m disappointed people aren’t listening to the orders, but I’m hoping for the best.”
Supervisor Chuck Winn, who represents Lodi on the board, asked if the contact tracers recruited by Public Health Services were asking those who test positive if they had participated in recent protests throughout the county, or had participated in other large gatherings.
Contact tracers are not specifically asking whether patients have gone to protests or to restaurants, but are asking where they have been and where they think they may have contracted the virus, she said.
“There were a lot of people converging and a lot without masks,” Winn said. “If we’re really going to find out where we trace these contacts, we need to get the full picture, not bits and pieces.”