Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Tuesday, Sept. 21 @ 5:58 p.m. / COVID-19
Del Norte's Downward Trend in COVID Cases Continues
One more person is in the hospital with COVID-19, but Del Norte County appears to be continuing its downward trend with only 10 new cases reported to the Public Health Branch on Tuesday.
Fourteen people are hospitalized with the novel coronavirus as of Tuesday, according to the county’s COVID-19 Information Hub. There are currently 143 active cases in Del Norte, according to the Public Health Branch. There were no new deaths reported on Tuesday.
Despite the downward trend in cases, Crescent City will hold another community briefing on Thursday via Zoom. People can email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Del Norte County Public Health Officer, Dr. Aaron Stutz, delivered a similarly optimistic report to the Crescent City Council on Monday, saying that things are “continuing in the right direction” and he hopes the county can stay the course.
Stutz said he hopes to be able to lift an order requiring masks in public settings and businesses regardless of vaccine status soon, but as of Monday Del Norte County is still in the high transmission category as defined by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
“We’re still in the high transmission zone, but we’ve seen a definite trend downward in cases,” he said. “During the height of the spike in mid-August, we peaked somewhere around 400 active cases (per day) and today, we only have about 150 active cases. That’s a significant decline from the middle of August.”
At the City Council meeting, Stutz also took questions from former Del Norte County supervisor Roger Gitlin. Gitlin, saying that only 1 percent of those who contract COVID-19 die from it, asked Stutz to compare the lethality of the novel coronavirus to other diseases or “issues that are non-COVID related.”
Stutz said the virus doesn’t just impact the person who is infected and the worry isn’t only about whether or not they’re going to die.
The questions, he said, are how long will COVID-19 patients tie up the hospital system and what health issues will they have after surviving COVID because they were intubated or caught an infection in the hospital.
What will a patient’s quality of life and lifespan be after surviving COVID, Stutz asked rhetorically.
“It’s not how likely are you to die, it’s how likely is it going to impact our public services like our hospital system, which during this current surge has been completely overloaded and unable to take care of other things that have higher fatality rates like strokes and heart attacks and basic surgeries,” Stutz said. “People with solvable issues like appendicitis and gall stone pancreatitis have not been able to find a hospital bed and could not find a place to have their basic medical process taken care of.”
Stutz also told Gitlin that he hasn’t seen COVID from the perspective of a healthcare professional working in the hospital.
“You haven’t seen it wipe out entire generations of people,” he said. “It’s asking you to trust physicians and healthcare workers who are seeing these things and you aren’t.”
During the City Council meeting, Stutz also spoke to how he and his colleagues treat those who present to the emergency department and are diagnosed with COVID, but aren’t at the point where they need a ventilator.
“I’m going to send them home,” Stutz said. “I give them a list of instructions, make sure you’re walking around, eating right, taking deep breaths. If they come in and they’re hypoxic, but not hypoxic enough to be on a ventilator, they’re going to get Dexamethasone, a steroid, and send them home.”
Since the pandemic started, Del Norte has seen 3,473 COVID-19 cases. Thirty-five people have died in Del Norte County from the novel coronavirus.