A glimpse behind the COVID numbers

Plumas County Public Health announced 54 new coronavirus cases yesterday, Aug. 26, but details contained within the numbers are difficult to find.

Plumas News asked each of the three hospitals in the county as well as Public Health what number of those infected are hospitalized. Are there any children hospitalized? Have there been additional deaths?

Additionally, we asked Public Health about the number of people who are vaccinated versus not who have contracted the virus and whether the outcomes differ.

Public Health Director Dana Loomis said that tracking Covid hospitalizations is tricky because hospitals don’t always notify Public Health of admissions, and they seldom follow up when those patients are discharged.  Public Health does post an estimate of current hospitalizations on its Covid dashboard https://infogram.com/plumas-county-covid-19-1hke608o5zjy145 based on data collected by the state.  However, the page is not always current.

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Plumas District Hospital reported that it currently has four COVID patients, Eastern Plumas Health Care has two COVID patients hospitalized and Plumas News is awaiting data from Seneca Healthcare District.

As for deaths, Loomis said that they aren’t reported until they are officially certified and registered because information can change. To date, Plumas County has had six deaths.

“Bear in mind that despite the current surge of Covid cases, our numbers are still small, so releasing some details would compromise privacy,” Loomis said.  “That’s why we don’t report age or vaccination status of current hospitalizations.”

While they aren’t reporting specific cases, Loomis said the dashboard information posted by the state indicates that the vaccine is 88.5 percent effective as of Aug. 20. “That is excellent compared to most vaccines,” Loomis said. To put that number in a different perspective, just  4-tenths of one percent of vaccinated people have developed Covid.

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Currently 50 percent of eligible Plumas County residents are fully vaccinated, and 55 percent have at least one dose.

Loomis said that he understands people want more information and are probably frustrated, but they are supplying what they can.

He did share that no children are hospitalized with Covid in Plumas County.

While Public Health has been reluctant to share details, other entities have been less reticent such as Feather River College, which releases information about all of its positive cases and Plumas Unified School District that releases limited information by site.