Jessica Cejnar / Monday, July 13, 2020 @ 1:28 p.m.
New COVID-19 Case Confirmed 9-12 Days After Test; Patient Has Already Recovered, Public Health Officials Say
A new COVID-19 case was reported in Del Norte County, though due to a lag in processing the test results, the patient has already recovered, according to public health officials
The results were reported to public health officials — and to the patient — about 9-12 days after he or she took the test at the community drive-through site operated by Verily, according to the Del Norte County Public Health Branch. The patient has already completed their isolation period, according to the Public Health Branch.
There are currently zero active cases in Del Norte County as of 10:48 a.m. Monday.
“This isn’t a problem that’s isolated to Del Norte County or even California right now,” Del Norte County Emergency Services Manager Kymmie Scott told the Wild Rivers Outpost. “A lot of folks are contracting with big labs and they’re overwhelmed and there is the potential to spread out this need to utilize some of the capacity of the smaller labs that are under-utilized right now and there is work being done at the local and state level to do that.”
With results not being reported to public health officials until after the patient is considered recovered, some may wonder if it’s worth getting tested. The results will still be helpful for case investigators, though contact tracing won’t be as effective, Scott said.
In this particular case, public health staff have completed their investigation and have placed the patient’s close contacts in isolation, according to the Public Health Branch.
“Even if this information’s coming late it’s still good information,” Scott said, “and it’s information we need. We don’t expect this backlog to last forever.”
Scott also indicated that even though the results for this particular case were late, some are still being notified of their COVID-19 status within two to three days.
“It’s sort of hit and miss,” Scott said Monday. “I know two people that tested last Tuesday that got their results on Friday. But then, there are other people who still don’t have them back. I went on Tuesday and I don’t have mine back today.”
Due to the lag time between testing and results, people should still follow social distancing guidelines, wear face coverings in public and minimize contact with those outside their household, according to the Public Health Branch.
Meanwhile, the latest BioBot report, showed viral evidence in the city’s wastewater consistent with an estimated 1,400 cases as of June 28. Another sampling of Crescent City’s wastewater was conducted on Sunday. The results take about a week to come back to Del Norte emergency officials, Scott said.
The test results from the June 28 sampling, which was posted on the county’s COVID-19 Information Hub on July 7, indicates there may have been a “marked increase” in disease activity in Del Norte County, Scott said. But, she said, the science is still new.
“We don’t know if that case number rate is really true,” Scott said. “We know there’s 7 times more virus concentration in the wastewater stream, what we don’t know is how much of that is influenced by people using hotels. How that translates to actual numbers. We know there’s increased virus presence and we are reacting appropriately.”
According to the BioBot report from a May 26 sampling, there was viral evidence in the wastewater consistent with 130 cases. But the June 16 sampling showed no detectable levels of COVID-19 evidence in the wastewater.
There have been a total of 61 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Del Norte County and a total of 2,997 tests administered.
People should still consider being tested, despite the lag in processing, Scott said. She noted that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that those who have recovered from COVID-19 have immunity for a short time afterwards.
Testing is free and is available Monday through Wednesday near the football stadium at Del Norte High School. To make an appointment, visit www.projectbaseline.com/COVID19.