WRO Staff / Friday, Aug. 20 @ 2:15 p.m. / COVID-19

HEALTH OFFICER: Wild Rivers Region 'Overburdened' by COVID Surge; Six People on Ventilators, Five Dead Last Week in Del Norte


From the Del Norte County Health Officer:

Over the past month our county has experienced a large surge in COVID cases, likely fueled by our low community vaccination rates and more transmissible COVID variants. Coupled with a nationwide shortage of hospital staff this has resulted in many of the hospitals in our northern California and southern Oregon region becoming heavily overburdened with patients, including our own local hospital. A variety of resources have been called in to assist with this surge in patients with lines of communication established between the California Office of Emergency Services, Del Norte Public Health, Sutter Coast Hospital, local ambulance services, Pelican Bay State Prison, and other county and municipal departments.

Last week Del Norte County had 303 positive cases and there are currently over 351 active cases in our community. Our County remains the highest per capita case rate in the Pacific Northwest, 2.5 times the next closest county in the State of California.

  • 21 People are currently hospitalized for COVID
  • 9 People are requiring intensive care services
  • 6 People on ventilators
  • 5 People have died in the last week

“This is affecting all age groups - 62% of the hospital COVID admissions and 78% of the people in ICU are under 65 Years old.

The medical team at Sutter Coast s seeing patients with increasingly severe iliness who are requiring longer hospital stays. THE VAST MAJORITY OF THESE ADMITTED PATIENTS ARE UNVACCINATED. The state continues to be a tremendous resource by supplying needed staffing and equipment including additional ventilators to try to meet this surge. With the number of positive cases and people in quarantine as “close contacts” this is affecting every aspect of our community:

  • Our health care system is overburdened, contributing to a dangerous local health care situation; all non-emergency surgeries have been postponed.
  • Businesses have elected to close because of lack of available personnel.
  • Public Safely resources are being impacted (Police, Fire, Public Works), possibly affecting our abilty to respond to local emergencies.
  • Community members are becoming il and dying.

At ths time we ask the Del Norte community members to take several actions to help prevent this crisis from becoming worse:

1) Please seek out and obtain any available COVID vaccine. Vaccination s safe, effective, abundant, and free, and locations can be found on the public health website here: https:/www. covid19.dnco.org/testing

2) If you are sick with COVID symptoms or believe you have been exposed to COVID, please get tested and abide by isolation and quarantine guidelines which can be found here: https:/www.covid19.dnco.org/contact racing

3) Stay away from large gatherings and to utize standard precautions such as social distancing and face coverings,

4) Please follow up with a provider if you are seriously il and utize emergency medical services in the event of an emergency.

Thank you, and stay safe.

Aaron Stutz MD FAAEM Del Norte County Public Health Officer


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