Gatherings Cause COVID-19 Hospitalization Surge

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

A surge in COVID-19-related hospitalizations has Sacramento County health officials warning the public to continue to avoid large gatherings.

County data shows that hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients have more than tripled in the past two weeks.

Department of Health Services Director Dr. Peter Beilenson said this increase is not related to recent protests around the death of George Floyd, but mostly due to large gatherings which drew attendees from different areas.

“The vast majority, if not the total of these hospitalizations and ICU cases, are related to four different events,” Beilenson said. “Two large birthday parties, one attended by people from out of town, a large funeral and a large church gathering. All of which, technically, shouldn’t have been allowed.”

“That’s what has really driven these numbers,” he added. “And obviously, as you get more people with the disease, you can increase it exponentially.”

As of today, June 9, the county reports that 33 people with COVID-19 are currently hospitalized with 14 in intensive care. That’s up from an all-time low of nine hospitalized with two patients in intensive care on May 24.

According to Beilenson, virtually all the patients currently hospitalized are senior citizens or individuals with underlying health conditions.

Beilenson said that contract tracing identified the four events which led to the surge in Sacramento County COVID-19 hospitalizations.

“We really want to get the point home that the restrictions that have been lifted to a large extent so far and again on Friday, you can be more social but you’ve got to be more sensible,” he said. “That means not going to large gatherings, that means continuing to do six-feet of distance, that means continuing to wash your hands, and continuing to wear masks. All those things that are common sense that we’ve kind of lost with the message fatigue over the last few weeks, we really need to reinforce.”

Large gatherings are still prohibited by both county and state health orders.

While there’s no specific criteria that would trigger Sacramento County officials to reinstate restrictions, Beilenson said hospital data could drive future decisions. At the peak, on April 3, there were 77 COVID-19 patients in area hospitals 28 of whom were in intensive care in Sacramento County.

“…if it got back up to where we were originally four or five weeks ago, we might start looking at what we can potentially pull back,” he said. “People know what common sense is, what’s appropriate, what’s not, we’re just encouraging them to be sensible in their gatherings.”

Beilenson said an increased number of positive COVID-19 cases is not alarming due to an increase of testing in the region.

Currently there are community testing sites at Robertson Community Center in Del Paso Heights, St. Paul’s Church in Oak Park, La Familia in Fruitridge, at Christian Center in Meadowview, the drive-thru site at Cal Expo as well as doctor offices.

A new community COVID-19 testing site will also be opening next week in Natomas, according to Beilenson.

“We have vastly more testing than we did,” he explained. “The number of cases is not that alarming. It’s gone up from five to 10 cases a day to 20 to 30 cases, but that’s still well short of 70 cases a day we were seeing originally and that’s when we had a lot fewer tests.”

“The bigger issue is the hospitalizations and ICU visits.”

Total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Natomas since data became available. Natomas has more than 110,000 residents — the 107 cases represents less than 1% of the population in Natomas.


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