COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations spike in Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz County is seeing a drastic increase in COVID-19 cases that are pushing hospitals to the limit and leading some healthcare workers to call it quits.During a media briefing Thursday afternoon, public health officer Dr. Gail Newel said COVID-19 cases are spreading fast. “The delta variant is creating a surge that could last for two months … we’re now receiving approximately 30 new cases a day whereas in May, June early July we only had zero to one, two, three, four cases a day perhaps,” Newel said.Health leaders say they’re seeing a higher number of cases in north Santa Cruz County, most COVID-19 cases are among the 25 to 50 age range and hospitals are near capacity as they see an increase in COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.“This is likely due to delayed health care over the last 18 months but our health care capacity is straining,” Newel said.Making matters worse is a staffing shortage at hospitals. Newel estimates they’ve seen roughly a 20 percent decline in their health care workforce; as the COVID-19 pandemic takes its toll on workers.“People are on leaves of absences, people have resigned from healthcare because this is too much so it’s putting a big strain on our system and so that’s another thing we’re watching carefully,” said Dr. David Ghilarducci, deputy health officer for Santa Cruz County.Another county health leader said the county is now in a mitigation phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.“All of our energies are going to be focused on with limited resources where do we best focus those resources, energies including staff capacity to where they’re going to save the most lives,” said Mimi Hall, the county’s health services agency director. Health leaders say they are seeing an uptick in people getting vaccinated. As of Thursday, 68 percent of the county was fully vaccinated, while 78 percent are partially vaccinated. Doctors continue to say vaccination is one’s best bet for staying out of the hospital and alive. According to statistics from the California department of public health unvaccinated individuals are six times more likely to get sick from COVID-19 compared to those who are vaccinated. The unvaccinated are also 10 times more likely to end up in the hospital and 16.5 times more likely to die from COVID-19. “What we know is that basically every COVID death today is essentially a preventable COVID death because the vaccines are so effective in keeping you out of the hospital or keeping you from dying,” Ghilarducci said. Health leaders continue to recommend that people get vaccinated, mask up and stay home if they’re sick. One topic that keeps coming up is whether or not the public health officer will implement a mandatory mask mandate.Newel said right now the focus is on getting people vaccinated. “I don’t think that an order will necessarily change the behavior of our residents I think the same folks who are not wearing a mask now probably wouldn’t wear a mask if I issued the order,” Newel said.

Santa Cruz County is seeing a drastic increase in COVID cases that are pushing hospitals to the limit and leading some healthcare workers to call it quits.

During a media briefing Thursday afternoon, public health officer Dr. Gail Newel said COVID-19 cases are spreading fast.

Advertisement

“The Delta variant is creating a surge that could last for two months… we’re now receiving approximately 30 new cases a day whereas in May, June early July we only had zero to one, two, three, four cases a day perhaps,” Dr. Newel said.

Health leaders say they’re seeing a higher number of cases in north Santa Cruz county, most COVID cases are among the 25 to 50 age range and hospitals are near capacity as they see an increase in COVID and non-COVID patients.

“This is likely due to delayed health care over the last 18 months but our healthcare capacity is straining,” said Dr. Newel.

Making matters worse is a staffing shortage at hospitals. Dr. Newel estimates they’ve seen roughly a 20-percent decline in their healthcare workforce; as the COVID pandemic takes its toll on workers.

“People are on leaves of absences, people have resigned from healthcare because this is too much so it’s putting a big strain on our system and so that’s another thing we’re watching carefully,” said Dr. David Ghilarducci, deputy health officer for Santa Cruz county.

Another county health leader said the county is now in a mitigation phase of the COVID pandemic.

“All of our energies are going to be focused on with limited resources where do we best focus those resources, energies including staff capacity to where they’re going to save the most lives,” said Mimi Hall, the county’s health services agency director.

Health leaders say they are seeing an uptick in people getting vaccinated. As of Thursday 68-percent of the county was fully vaccinated, while 78-percent are partially vaccinated.

Doctors continue to say vaccination is one’s best bet for staying out of the hospital and alive.

According to statistics from the California department of public health unvaccinated individuals are 6-times more likely to get sick from COVID compared to those who are vaccinated. The unvaccinated are also 10-times more likely to end up in the hospital and 16.5-times more likely to die from COVID.

“What we know is that basically every COVID death today is essentially a preventable COVID death because the vaccines are so effective in keeping you out of the hospital or keeping you from dying,” said Dr. Ghilarducci.

Health leaders continue to recommend that people get vaccinated, mask up and stay home if you’re sick.

One topic that keeps coming up is whether or not the public health officer will implement a mandatory mask mandate.

Dr. Newel said right now the focus is on getting people vaccinated.

“I don’t think that an order will necessarily change the behavior of our residents I think the same folks who are not wearing a mask now probably wouldn’t wear a mask if I issued the order,” Dr. Newel said.

Contributed by local news sources

Next Post

State parks unveils new website to offer public updates on Big Basin State Redwood Park

Nearly a year after the CZU Lightning fire burned through California’s oldest state park-the clean-up continues.The fire swept through 97% of Big Basin State Redwood Park’s 18,000 acres. With historic structures now gone, the public is being asked to help with the rebuilding process.It’s really going to be a labor […]