Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Tuesday, June 7 @ 2:36 p.m. / COVID-19

Del Norte's Public Health Officer Provides Context to CDC's Recent 'High' COVID Designation

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control placed Del Norte County in the "high" category for COVID-19 transmission in the community last Thursday.

Though the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has put Del Norte County in its worst category for COVID-19 transmission, the local public health officer says the community’s absolute numbers are still small.

Del Norte may appear to have some of the highest COVID numbers in California — along with 12 other counties, according to the CDC — but that data is measured per capita, Dr. Aaron Stutz told the Wild Rivers Outpost via email Tuesday. He also pointed to the “advent of ubiquitous home testing that goes unreported,” saying the accuracy of the CDC’s numbers is questionable.

“I would consider our hospital numbers to be a best indicator,” Stutz told the Outpost.

Stutz said he’ll learn more when he and Public Health staff review local COVID cases on Wednesday.

As of Tuesday, two people are in the hospital due to COVID-19. Fifty-eight new cases were reported to the Public Health Branch, according to the county’s information hub, including six among the county’s incarcerated population.

There are 84 active cases in Del Norte County overall as of Tuesday. A total of 50 people in Del Norte County have died due to complications from the coronavirus. The latest death was recorded Thursday.

According to the CDC’s data, which is updated every Thursday, Del Norte County had a case rate of 251.69 per 100,000 population with 13.9 new COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 population.  COVID-19 community levels were calculated on Thursday and new COVID cases per 100,000 population is a seven-day total from May 26-June 1.

According to the CDC, 4.8 percent of staffed inpatient beds were used by patients with confirmed COVID-19. That percentage was calculated using data from May 25-May 31, according to the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker web page.

According to the CDC’s data, 43.9 percent of Del Norte County residents are fully vaccinated.

The CDC urged Del Norte County residents to wear a mask indoors while in public and on public transportation.

Stutz said he doesn’t anticipating issuing a mask mandate, though he recommended the community voluntarily mask in crowded settings.

“Those kinds of interventions have the most impact when the prevalence (for COVID) is extremely high,” he said. “Much higher than we have now.”

Other counties with high community levels of the coronavirus include El Dorado, Mendocino, Monterey, El Dorado, Marin, Napa, Placer, Sacramento, San Benito, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma and Yolo.


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