SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — We’re starting to see an increase in COVID-19 cases now about two weeks after most counties began to reopen. This has many wondering if the increase in cases is linked to increased testing or to outbreaks.
According to county health officials who spoke with CBS13, it’s likely a combination of the two.
In Sacramento County, health officials tell CBS13 they are seeing a “significant increase” in new cases. While they acknowledge some cases may be due to increased testing, they point to large gatherings including birthday parties, church gatherings and at least one visit by a family from out of state as the catalyst for many of the cases.
“It is important for people to remember that at this time, gatherings are not permitted of any size,” a public information officer said in an email.
Data shows before reopening in May, Sacramento was down to about 5-10 new cases per day. Now since reopening, the county is seeing between 15-30 new cases a day. There were 69 new cases reported over the weekend.
The county stresses that this is an “expected but manageable increase” adding that they they have not yet seen any cases related to the recent protests.
“The protests will not affect contact tracing plans, but may require additional cross-jurisdictional collaboration,” a spokesperson said.
SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY
San Joaquin County data indicates that cases have been rising steadily with at least 43 new cases reported over the weekend.
According to data compiled by CBS13, San Joaquin County has seen a 54% increase in the roughly two weeks since reopening, compared to a 16% increase the two weeks before. The number of deaths has increased by 12% compared to 6% over the same period before reopening.
In response to a request from CBS13, the San Joaquin County Health Department noted that it is hard to quantify exactly why they are seeing an increase.
The county points to increased testing within households, newly required testing at nursing home facilities and the county reopening as some of the possible catalysts for the increase in new cases.
A county spokesperson noted that “more people are just getting exposed” adding that the “increases now are likely from the first holiday weekend and when businesses began to become more open.”
YUBA – SUTTER COUNTIES
Yuba and Sutter Counties, which reopened before the governor lifted the stay-at-home order, have seen roughly an 80% combined increase in cases since reopening. However, combined, they still have fewer than 100 cases in total.
The county previously attributed the increase following reopening to an increase in testing.
Placer County reported a 33% jump in cases late last week, with dozens of new cases reported since.
The county said the spike was not due to increased testing but rather a couple of outbreaks including a family connected to international travel and cases at the Auburn Jail.
One of the most notable data points in Placer County is the number of new cases among younger age groups, including at least 9 kids under age 17, and 44 cases in people age 18-49.
Health officials note the data indicates that the older, more vulnerable population might be taking better precautions.