A report last week that the county had seven new cases of COVID-19 was later retested and refuted by labs around the region.

On Oct. 8, a release from Trinity County Health and Human Services said “on Oct. 3, Trinity County Public Health Branch (TCPHB) had reported lab confirmation of seven (7) persons who tested positive for COVID-19 in Trinity County, being referred to as a ‘cluster’ and involving Trinity Hospital, Mountain Community Healthcare District.” The release said specimens were tested by a high-complexity lab and the results caused Trinity Hospital to voice concerns.

Hospital CEO Aaron Rogers said the positive results were only in staff from around the hospital, not from any patients at the facility.

Rogers said staff at the Skilled Nursing Facility were not among the results in question. He said the hospital was previously mandated to test nursing facility staff monthly but a recent change by County Public Health has them testing for COVID weekly. A post on the hospital’s Facebook page last week said “We have had numerous conversations with Trinity County Public Health and continue to strongly urge them to loosen the orders.”

“We followed the rules and seven people tested positive,” he said. “That got all of us interested [as to] how did this happen?”

He said staff contacted each positive-tested employee and collected three new samples from each of them. He said the samples for each employee were then sent to three separate labs, One rapid testing site, one to the Shasta Public Health lab, and one to LabCorp.

“All the while, we were following Public Health’s order to a T,” Rogers said, “but in the background, we were doing our own research.”

Rogers said that by the following Tuesday, all 21 tests came back negative. To further confirm the retested results, the hospital contacted California Public Health Department and asked that the original swabs which tested positive be retested.

“All seven came back negative,” he said, tallying a total of 28 negative tests for seven individuals who previously tested positive. Rogers said the hospital has a good reputation and said it would be detrimental if residents think the facility is dirty or its staff reckless.

“It’s important to me to get the information out that we are not reckless and that we are willing to challenge results when they don’t add up,” he said, noting that he is not trying to cause discord with Public Health. “At the end of the day, a lot of people are questioning the validity of COVID. I’m not saying I do, but I can say I question the validity of COVID testing more than I did two weeks ago…”

He said the hospital continues to follow all guidelines and is open to treat patients.

“The biggest message is for community members to know that we are available if they are sick,” he said, noting that the hospital continues to work with Public Health to provide health care in Trinity County.

A release from Trinity County Health and Human Services said the discrepancy in results is under investigation.

“Since false positive tests are uncommon, the TCPHB acts on all lab-confirmed positive tests, and if necessary, will work with the CDPH on confirmatory testing as appropriate as in this case,” the release states.

Regional numbers

According to Johns Hopkins University, these are the numbers of cases in counties around Trinity as of Monday, Oct. 12, compared to last week.

Trinity County now has 20 confirmed cases of COVID-19, down 3 from last week, due to revised testing numbers.

Humboldt County now has 529 confirmed cases, up 8 from last week, with 8 deaths.

Tehama County has 930 confirmed cases, up 73 from last week, with 8 deaths, up 1 from last week.

Siskiyou County has 179 confirmed cases, up 13 from last week, with 1 death.

Del Norte County has 169 confirmed cases up 23 from last week, with 1 death.

Mendocino County has 1,042 confirmed cases, up 54 from last week, with 21 deaths, up 2 from last week.

Glenn County has 626 confirmed cases, up 23 from last week, with 3 deaths.

Shasta County has 1,473 confirmed cases, up 356 from last week, with 24 deaths, up 2 from last week.

Butte County has 2,962 confirmed cases, up 68 from last week, with 48 deaths, up 3 from last week

Colusa County has 543 confirmed cases, up 5 from last week with 6 deaths.

Lake County has 630 confirmed cases, up 42 from last week, with 16 deaths, up 5 from last week.

Lassen County now has 752 confirmed cases, up 9 from last week with its first death.

Modoc County has 28 confirmed cases, up 1 from last week and zero deaths, unchanged from last week.

Total: 9,883 confirmed cases, up 672 from last week; 137 deaths, up 14 from last week.

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

State numbers

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

► California has 852,406 confirmed cases to date. Numbers may not represent true day-over-day change as reporting of test results can be delayed.

► There were 2,378 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 2.7% and the 14-day positivity rate is 2.6%.

► There have been 16,333,717 tests conducted in California. This represents an increase of 142,376 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 16,581 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 Sept. 27 to Oct. 3, 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 92 percent received them within two days. The testing turnaround time dashboard is updated weekly.

Health Care Worker Infection Rates

As of Oct. 11, local health departments have reported 41,402 confirmed positive cases in health care workers and 192 deaths statewide.

Your Actions Save Lives

Every person has a role to play. Protecting yourself and your family comes down to common sense:

► Staying home except for essential needs/activities.

► Practicing social distancing.

► Wearing a cloth face mask when out in public.

► Washing hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.

► Avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.

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