SAN LOUIS OBISPO – Dr. Penny Borenstein, San Luis Obispo County Health Officer, said the cases of COVID-19 in the county continue in a very worrying direction.
Wednesday the 16th. In December Mrs. Borenstein opened her weekly COWID 19 briefing with the usual number of cases – 195 new cases, 2 deaths, 29 hospitalizations of which 7 in intensive care and 1,523 active cases.
The total number of cases in the province was 8,090, an increase from 7,071 a week ago.
The province showed no signs of slowing down Thursday because there were 179 new cases, two more deaths, 27 hospitalizations, eight of which were in intensive care, and 1,633 active cases.
In the past three days, eight COWID-19s have died – six on Tuesdays and two on Wednesdays and Thursdays – and more, which Borenstein called a remarkable number.
Another six new deaths in the last 24 hours have not yet been included in the total because we are waiting for their completion, but unfortunately that is the mortality rate that we see and that is our most alarming statistic, said Mr. Borenstein. It’s clearly more than just a statistic. Our hearts go out to the families who go through this experience.
There were 18 COWID-19 deaths in SLO County this month. In addition to the deaths, Borenstein said the district faces 21 outbreaks, which is high for the district. They can be found in a wide variety of institutions, but especially in old people’s homes, assisted living centres, other long-term care facilities, fire stations, prisons, the state hospital and the provincial government.
We see people coming for treatment first and I hope you will continue to answer the call to do everything in your power not to contribute to the spread of the disease and to ensure the safety of our people coming for treatment first and to ensure the safety of our hospitals, wherever we start testing some of our key hospital staff for VIDOC, she said.
For the second week in a row, Borenstein called on people to slow down the spread by putting on a mask and taking their social distance.
I think you can hear the seriousness and tone of my words about this, she said. The threat is now, and it’s here in our district. And if you haven’t been paying attention, now would certainly be a good time.
As Christmas and the New Year approached, Borenstein used a slide to illustrate the model. He testified that there was a significant increase in cases in the county after Halloween, after which the situation stabilised and cases resumed after Thanksgiving.
We don’t want to have the same effect on our community after the upcoming Christmas and New Year holidays, she said. We must redouble our efforts to cope with the daily attack of new companies in our community. It will also help our company to get back to work if we can get our illness under control.
Borenstein spent most of his weekly briefings dealing with rumors and misinformation.
COWID-19 false or inflated
Again, I’m referring you to the death certificate, she said. If you look closely, 300,000 Americans have died from this disease since March.
Accuracy of case count
I’ve heard that 99.9 percent of people are doing well with this disease, she said. This does not apply to the number of deaths. I’ve also heard that most reports of cases are false. That’s not fair, either. The PCR test is the gold standard and we have a very low false positive rate among all tests performed locally and globally with this test. The antigen test actually has more false positives, so we will continue in this district not to use it or recommend it because it is 85% accurate. The positive points are also missing. With a PCR test we are talking about 1 or 2% where you can have both a false positive and a false positive.
I’ve heard a little bit about that, the cycle threshold, that the test is inaccurate because it identifies people who simply aren’t contagious, she said. And while that may be true, the fact is, and I’ve said this before, that the test looks, the PCR test looks for the virus, not whether it’s alive or dead. So there are cases where a person is in the recovery phase, but where a number of organisms can still be detected. But we have looked at our cycle thresholds, where if they are higher, it may indicate a lower reliability of active infection. These higher values, the cycle threshold, represent a very small percentage of all tests performed.
I know it’s getting a little weird, and I’m happy to talk about it for a long time, but I wanted to do it right away, she added. I’ve been hearing for weeks that the test is unreliable because of the cycle thresholds. I will have this dialogue with anyone who wants to talk about the threshold of the round as another way of saying that we are exaggerating the seriousness or the number of cases we see in our country or in the world.
I hear all the time that people who don’t get tested get false results, she said. They get the results by SMS that they tested negative, even though they never did the test. I think it’s very old news. A few of these cases happened a few months ago because of a computer problem, but that hasn’t been the case in our community or, as far as I know, anywhere in the state of California for some time now.
Borenstein reiterated that she was open to talking to people about these recurring rumors.
Finally, Borenstein said the county has received 1,950 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine and will begin vaccination on Friday. Further doses of Pfizer are expected next week. The district also expects to receive cans from Modern as soon as it has received an emergency-use permit.
Mr Borenstein stressed that vaccination would be introduced gradually, starting with the health and emergency workers. She said the provincial health department had received requests for the vaccine and asked people to be patient.
A lot of people are willing to take one, and that’s great news, Borenstein said. I also ask people to be patient. We will post on our website when different segments of our community can receive the vaccine and when they need to be prepared. It’ll take months, not weeks.
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