Public Health Director discusses Plumas COVID numbers

By Debra Moore

[email protected]

Mirroring what is occurring around the country and the world, COVID numbers are on the rise in Plumas County as reflected in today’s numbers, but during an interview this afternoon, Public Health Director Dana Loomis said he expects a larger increase next week due to the five-day lag time in reporting. “The numbers that we have seen for the last few days won’t be incorporated until next week,” he said.

When asked if the anticipated increase was tied to any specific event, Loomis said not at that this time, but information is still being collected. He did say that the health agency is working on a “number of different outbreaks,” but couldn’t be more specific.

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Though the cases are increasing, Loomis asked if hospitalizations were as well. “There are more cases hospitalized than we have had for a while,” he said, but then further explained that some people are hospitalized with COVID, but not solely because of the virus.

The increase in numbers worldwide is being attributed to the BA.5 variant, and Loomis said he expects the variant to be seen in Plumas as well. He said the county doesn’t send samples out for sequencing because of the length of time it takes to get results. “It wouldn’t be very helpful to us,” he said. However, he hopes his agency soon will begin wastewater testing, which is used elsewhere to determine the extent of the virus in a community. Health department personnel would collect weekly samples and then send them to the state for analysis.

As for what the public can do at this point in the virus, he said that “masking is still strongly recommended,” but it isn’t likely that there will be another statewide mandate.

When asked about the new vaccines that are expected to be available this Fall that more specifically target Omicron, Loomis said there isn’t any timeframe yet for their availability.

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The drug Paxlovid, which can alleviate COVID symptoms if taken at the onset of the virus, can now be prescribed by pharmacists. Loomis said that an individual diagnosed with the virus would need to provide health information to the pharmacist because there are drug interactions to consider. As to reports that some people who take the drug have experienced rebound symptoms, Loomis said he is aware of that information, but more data is needed to quantify the extent of those cases.

Plumas County Public Health is reporting COVID numbers weekly and announced today, July 7, that there have been 36 new cases of COVID reported over the past seven days; 36 cases also were reported on June 30. According to Loomis, he expects those numbers to increase next week.

There are currently 55 people in isolation and three individuals are hospitalized. The test positivity rate went up to 15.3 percent.  These numbers only reflect those reported to Public Health, and don’t account for any positive at-home tests that aren’t reported.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Public Health has reported 3,810 cases and 20 deaths according to its latest figures.

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For more demographic information regarding COVID in Plumas County, click here.