COVID-19 by the numbers

Urging the public to trust in science and continue getting tested here for COVID-19, Trinity County Public Health Nursing Director Marcie Jo Cudzoil reported to the Trinity County Board of Supervisors last week on earlier test results, later refuted, that indicated the presence of a cluster of seven cases located in close proximity and time to one another.

The seven positive test results for COVID among staff members at Trinity Hospital in Weaverville earlier this month came out of mandated weekly testing of all staff requiring access to a skilled nursing facility. The results were contested by the Mountain Communities Healthcare District and later refuted by labs around the region. The seven cases were initially added to the county dashboard’s total count, but later removed.

Cudzoil said further testing was run on the seven original samples that tested positive and two of those continued to show the presence of the virus. Further samples were not collected because they would be unlikely to detect any remaining presence of the virus, she said, adding any contamination of the original samples was also highly unlikely.

On the same Oct. 3-4 weekend, three other positive cases were also reported in the county, believed to be completely unrelated to the cluster of seven all in one location. Cudzoil said all protocols were followed and the county’s contact, tracing and surveillance team worked throughout the weekend to investigate and inform people potentially exposed to the virus to quarantine themselves.

The Public Health Department requested genome testing on the seven cases to determine if they were indeed a cluster of the same virus which would indicate community spread, but once PCR testing came back negative, there was no reason to do genome testing.

“The Public Health lab has a highly sensitive test that was originally performed on the seven and there is no reason to doubt they were originally positive,” Cudzoil said, adding once the results were contested, “it kicked it into a whole different process to answer that question. False negatives are much more common than false positives and there is no indication these were false positives.”

She said she wants to assure the public “that testing is important. We all have a role. We can trust the science. False negatives are much more likely. I bring this forward because science matters and testing is important to protect our vulnerable population.”

She said the three unrelated public cases never came off the county dashboard count, but all other seven did “because there’s no reason to put them back on. If we have to second guess every test, that impacts the system. We want to look case by case at the circumstances of the request and there is a process for challenging quarantine and isolation orders.”

District 1 Sup. Keith Groves said the situation “caused a major panic in my district. People were very upset: the schools, parents, the fire department. The rumor mill felt it was all tied together, but then a person was not re-tested and I think it hurt your credibility.”

“Watch not only what we say, but what we do,” Cudzoil said, adding “this situation was very challenging for a number of reasons. The angst that went with it is what it is, but the science matters and what we do in Public Health matters. Frankly, I was disturbed at some of the things I saw on Facebook. I can’t speak to it, but Public Health will continue to do what it does and if a case comes up when someone wants to challenge a test or quarantine orders, we will look into that. Flu season is coming and the virus is not going away. This was an anomaly, but we’re not out of this yet.”

Regarding public information, she said the county is now updating the dashboard online Monday through Friday by 3 p.m. and not on weekends or with press releases each time there is a new COVID case reported.

“But we will put out public information if there’s something they need to know to protect themselves. With flu season coming, it’s not manageable to put out press releases every time. We know there will be more cases,” she said.

The dashboard currently shows 25 confirmed COVID cases in Trinity County, including 20 recovered and five active. There have been zero deaths. There are 75 active quarantines and five active isolations.

Trinity County adopts Blueprint for a Safer Economy

The Trinity County Blueprint for a Safer Economy replaces the County Data Monitoring List and Attestation for determining sector opening and modifications. The county blueprint is now posted on the Trinity County website at www.trinitycounty.org.

Trinity County is currently in the yellow tier. Sector guidance and tier assignment can be found at the California COVID-19 website at www.covid19.ca.gov. Trinity County would not move back into the more restrictive orange tier unless its absolute case rate number hits seven under the Alternate Case Assessment Measure.

Small counties are subject to all existing state blueprint rules (test positivity thresholds, minimum duration of 3 weeks in a tier before moving to a less restrictive tier, inability to skip over a tier while moving from more restrictive to less restrictive tier designations, etc.) with the exception of the case rate thresholds as delineated below:

From Tier         To Tier         Threshold

Yellow               Orange          7

Orange             Red              14

Red                  Purple           35

The Alternate Case Assessment Measure provides a small county protection against sudden tier changes as a result of small changes in cases over a two-week period. If the county exceeds the absolute weekly case number thresholds (as defined in the table above) for two consecutive weeks, it will be required to move to the more restrictive tier.

COVID testing available

Testing for COVID-19 is not only important for you, but your family and community, according to Public Health officials.

With early diagnostic testing, those who test positive and show symptoms may get care earlier and quarantine to prevent further spread. At that point, their contacts can be traced and through self isolation or quarantine, the spread of the virus can be stopped.

According to the Mayo Clinic, another reason to get tested is to identify people who have recovered from COVID-19 who may then donate plasma which can be used to treat others who have severe symptoms.

Local testing is available and free at the following locations.

On Thursday, Oct. 29, COVID-19 testing will be provided at the Trinity Alps Performing Arts Center parking lot, at 101 Arbuckle Court in Weaverville. Testing will be offered from 8 to 11:45 a.m. both days

On Friday Oct. 30, free testing will be offered at the Solid Rock Christian Fellowship, 66 Tule Creek Road, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Schedules are subject to change if air quality changes.

You must be registered and over 18 to be tested.

To register, go online to www.trinitycounty.org/mobile-test or call the helpline at 623-8235 with any questions.

Regional numbers

According to Johns Hopkins University, these are the numbers of cases in counties around Trinity as of Monday, Oct. 26, compared to last week.

Trinity County now has 26 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and no deaths.

Humboldt County now has 567 confirmed cases, up 23 from last week, with 10 deaths, up 2 from last week.

Tehama County has 880 confirmed cases, up 11 from last week, with 8 deaths.

Siskiyou County has 193 confirmed cases, up 9 from last week, with zero deaths, down 1 from last week.

Del Norte County has 178 confirmed cases up 5 from last week, with 1 death.

Mendocino County has 1,129 confirmed cases, up 40 from last week, with 21 deaths.

Glenn County has 657 confirmed cases, up 18 from last week, with 3 deaths.

Shasta County has 1,889 confirmed cases, up 210 from last week, with 30 deaths, up 1 from last week.

Butte County has 3,087 confirmed cases, up 75 from last week, with 52 deaths, up 2 from last week

Colusa County has 550 confirmed cases, up 5 from last week with 6 deaths, up 1 from last week.

Lake County has 695 confirmed cases, up 32 from last week, with 15 deaths.

Lassen County now has 766 confirmed cases, up 9 from last week with 1 death.

Modoc County has 29 confirmed cases, up 3 from last week with zero deaths.

Total: 10,646 confirmed cases, up 440 from last week; 147 deaths, up 5 from last week.

The full map of known and active cases can be found at https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

Statewide numbers

The California Department of Public Health on Tuesday announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19.

► California has 904,198 confirmed cases to date. Numbers may not represent true day-over-day change as reporting of test results can be delayed.

► There were 3,188 newly recorded confirmed cases Monday. Numbers do not represent true day-over-day change as these results include cases from prior to yesterday.

► The 7-day positivity rate is 3.2 percent and the 14-day positivity rate is 2.9 percent.

► There have been 18,127,049 tests conducted in California. This represents an increase of 144,220 over the prior 24-hour reporting period.

► As case numbers continue to rise in California, the total number of individuals who will have serious outcomes will also increase. There have been 17,400 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Testing turnaround time

The testing turnaround dashboard reports how long California patients are waiting for COVID-19 test results. California has worked to reduce testing turnaround times in recent weeks to help curb the spread of the virus. During the week of Oct. 11-17, the average time patients waited for test results was 1.2 days. During this same time period, 69 percent of patients received test results in 1 day and 91 percent received them within two days. The testing turnaround time dashboard is updated weekly.

Health care worker infection rates

As of Oct. 26, local health departments have reported 43,695 confirmed positive cases in health care workers and 200 deaths statewide.

What to do if you think you're sick

Call ahead: If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (for example: fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches), call your health care provider before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.

More than 100 community testing sites also offer free, confidential testing (see above schedule for Trinity County).

For more information about what Californians can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19, visit covid19.ca.gov.

California continues to issue guidance on preparing and protecting California from COVID-19. Consolidated guidance is available on the California Department of Public Health's Guidance web page, www.cdph.ca.gov.

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