LODI (CBS13) — As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, new data from our region’s hardest-hit county is shedding new light on people bearing the brunt of coronavirus.
San Joaquin County has had more than 2,000 coronavirus cases in the past two weeks, leaving Francisco Miranda with one thing on his mind.
“Quarantine and staying in the house,” he said.
Miranda knows at least six people who have tested positive. It’s a heightened concern for him as diabetes runs in his family.
“It worries me a lot because a lot of my family are diabetics, most of our family,” he explained.
For the first time, the county is releasing more details on who is dying from the disease. Their COVID-19 dashboard recently added numbers showing underlying conditions of those who have died. As of Thursday, county data shows 192 deaths. Out of those numbers, 45% had diabetes.
UCLA Epidemiologist Dr. Jeffery Klausner said diabetes impacts the immune system more severely than other chronic conditions.
“In diabetes, those cells just don’t function the same way. The cells don’t work as quickly, they are not as responsive. They are not as aggressive. We have known for many kinds of infections, diabetics’ immunity is just not the same and not as good,” he explained.
Heart disease is a close second at 42%, while those with no underlying conditions make up 15% of deadly cases. It is unclear is being overweight is classified as an underlying condition. Klausner said this information is critical for the community.
“We have been calling for months for that type of level of data sharing by counties and the state,” he explained. “That can empower people. Information like that empowers people to know how to protect themselves, how to protect their families.”
The new data comes as the county’s hospitals are overflowing reaching 139% capacity at their ICUs. The county said 138 of their ICU beds and 720 hospital beds are being used.
“People need to do their share in keeping everyone safe. I’m not only concerned with myself but I’m concerned with anybody else that I would expose something to unnecessarily,” said county resident Cecil Lincoln.
As the county announced 85 new cases Thursday, Lincoln hopes people will get the message.
“I think we have a responsibility to each other and until we realize that and truthfully follow through on that, I think we are going to have this problem for a long time,” he said.
According to data from last year, 10% of the county is diabetic, which is higher than the state average.