San Joaquin County Public Health Services added a new data set to its COVID-19 dashboard recently.
The new widget now tracks the number of COVID-19 deaths related to comorbidities.
A comorbidity is defined as the simultaneous presence of two or more chronic diseases or conditions in a patient.
According to Public Health’s data dashboard, 19.6% of patients who died from COVID-19 complications had no known underlying health conditions.
Among the remaining 80.4% of patients who died with COVID-19, 43.1% suffered from diabetes, 39.9% had from cardiovascular disease, 16.3% suffered from chronic lung disease, and 7.8% had asthma.
The new COVID-19 data set is being reported as the total number of deaths in the county has risen to 151 as of Thursday afternoon, the 10th-highest number in the state, which itself has reported 8,909.
There have been a total of 26 deaths in the county this past week alone.
According to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard, the county has seen 73 deaths in the past 14 days, along with 3,868 positive cases.
There have been a total of 11,342 positive cases in the county since the pandemic began, including at least 1,070 from Lodi’s two ZIP codes.
Earlier this week, the number of cases in San Joaquin County surpassed those in Alameda County, which reported 11,131 on Thursday, giving San Joaquin County the eighth-highest number of cases in the state, and the highest number in Northern California.
There are a total of 485,502 cases across the state.
San Joaquin County Emergency Medical Services Agency reported Thursday the intensive care units in seven hospitals were operating at 143% capacity, while total hospital capacity was at 73%.
County EMS said 713 hospital beds were in use, of which 234 were occupied by COVID-19 patients. There were 142 ICU beds in use, 80 of which were for COVID-19 patients.
At Adventist Health Lodi Memorial, 60 beds were in use with 32 COVID-19 patients, and 15 ICU beds were being used, 12 of which were for COVID-19 patients, according to EMS.
In addition, more than 1.6 million procedure masks and more than 1.3 million gloves have been distributed to seven county hospitals, as have 709,394 N-95 respirators, 194,580 face shields and 169,062 gowns, the state reports.
This week, volunteers at Edison High School’s Grant Taggart Gymnasium packed washable face coverings, hand sanitizer and education materials into boxes that will be distributed where COVID-19 is most prevalent as part of a collaborative project between county Public Health Services, Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Medical Center, United Way of San Joaquin, Stockton Unified School District, Gospel Center Rescue Mission, Community Medical Centers and several more partners.
The goal this week is to assemble 10,000 coronavirus prevention kits that will go to organizations in the county struck hardest by the virus. In the coming weeks, some 100,000 kits will be assembled and distributed, and possibly another 100,000. The masks were procured by San Joaquin County with federal funds from the CARES Act.
Another 600 washable masks handmade by more than 20 women representing Lodi Rotary Foundation, Calvary Presbyterian Church and the Japanese American Citizens League were donated.
Since May, advocate Luis Magaña has distributed food and face coverings to area farm workers. But he lacks the resources and funds to fully impact the Hispanic community, especially farm laborers, who account for 41.1% of the county’s population (762,148), at least 30.1% of the county’s 11,209 cases, and 37.3% of deaths countywide from COVID-19, according to Wednesday’s San Joaquin Public Health Services dashboard.
However, the background of only 52.1% of patients has been reported on the dashboard, and those on the front lines suspect as many as 70% of recent cases have been among the county’s Latino population.
Ethnic background has been reported for 94.1% of those patients who have died, according to the county data dashboard.
Magaña said the numbers of positive cases are under-reported by the farmworker community.
“At least one in one crew of 10 or more workers will get positive,” Magaña said. “And they are not reporting the symptoms to the foremen because they will stop the work and they can lose their jobs.”
Rev. Nelson Rabell at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Lodi said he receives call every day from Latino workers desperate for help, for rent and medical care.
Many of his parishioners are poor, working jobs in fields, grocery stories, day care centers and medical facilities.
“They are suffering a lot,” Rabell said. “It’s just the perfect storm of irresponsible government action at all levels.”
He believes government needs to provide direct financial aid to workers, especially those who are infected, so that they can stay home from work without fear of their families being without food or shelter. Though Newsom’s aid package increases quarantine housing for workers who can’t isolate at home and provides sick leave for more workers, Rabell points out that many of those in essential jobs live paycheck to paycheck and need immediate money if they fall ill.
Rabell said there must be “robust accountability and supervision” of workplaces such as farms and packing plants, including greater penalties for employers who don’t comply with social distancing or provide protective gear.
Jose Rodriguez, director of El Concilio, which runs housing and programs for farmworkers in San Joaquin County, said he believes government needs to also be stricter with isolation and quarantine rules, and better at contact tracing, so that those exposed to the virus are clear about quarantine protocols.
One of his cousins in Sutter County recently tested positive, he said. A day after receiving the results, county health workers came to her house and instructed all the residents that they had to quarantine for 14 days, and have made repeated checks since to make “sure the family is doing what they are told.”
“Unless someone is doing that here, they are not taking it seriously,” he said.
Stockton Record staff writer Bob Highfill and Los Angeles Times staff writers Rong-Gong Lin II and Anita Chabria contributed to this report.