Tag Archives: Hospitalizations

Solano County does not have reliable information on each day’s new COVID hospitalizations

Dr. Matyas responds to my request for daily updates on TOTAL hospitalizations since the pandemic began

By Roger Straw, September 28, 2020
Background
Roger Straw, The Benicia Independent

On September 24, I wrote to Dr. Bela Matyas, asking him to restore a TOTAL count of COVID hospitalizations since the pandemic began:

Please consider this request:  From the earliest days of the pandemic and through July 10, the County’s COVID dashboard showed Total Hospitalizations.

Beginning on July 13, the dashboard only shows Current Hospitalizations.  The daily change in Current Hospitalizations must be the difference between admissions and discharges, plus or minus, which is important to know.

However, the public needs to also know how many NEW admissions on a daily basis in order to accurately understand spread.  This can easily be seen in the daily update of Total Hospitalizations.

Please consider restoring Total Hospitalizations to the COVID dashboard.

Dr. Matyas sent the following reply on September 27:
Dr. Bela Matyas, Solano County Public Health Officer

“The daily change in total hospitalizations does not faithfully represent new hospitalizations; the majority of added hospitalizations day over day is from reconciliation of previously hospitalized cases that we learn about in arrears. It is likely to be a substantially under-reported number.

Hospitalization is not a reportable condition on an individual level; hospital capacity is the condition that we are monitoring, and total hospitalizations per day is the relevant metric. Reporting total hospitalizations to date on a daily basis would be a misleading indicator for tracking new hospitalizations both because of the timing of reports and the under-reporting of hospitalizations.”

My response today:

Dr. Matyas – Thank you for your response to my email. With respect, I think I disagree. Regardless whether a daily update of TOTAL hospitalizations since the outbreak began includes ONLY new hospitalizations TODAY or both new TODAY and “newly learned in arrears” hospitalizations, the metric of total hospitalizations (and a 7 or 14 day average graph showing the curve of that metric) would be of great significance in understanding the overall spread of the most serious cases.

This daily increase, whether learned in arrears or not, is important for the public’s awareness. MOST IMPORTANTLY, reporting on hospitalizations in this way might help in cautioning the public to take seriously the continuing need for masks, social distancing, hand washing, etc. As our public health officer, I’d hope you might stop and think about this again. Seems it wouldn’t hurt the cause at all to add this metric to the County’s COVID dashboard, and shouldn’t be too hard to calculate the data as I have been doing, working from the AGE GROUP data.

I will continue to add together the newly reported daily reported increase of hospitalizations in the AGE GROUP data in order to determine the daily increase in TOTAL hospitalizations. And I will continue to let the public know.

Roger Straw
Benicia

Click the image for Solano County COVID-19 Updates and Resources

Coronavirus: California could see 89% increase in hospitalizations next month, health official warns

Dr. Mark Ghaly flagged “early signs” that state’s progress has shifted slightly: hospitalizations could rise from 2,578 patients now to 4,864 by late October

Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of California’s Health and Human Services Department, addressed the state’s COVID-19 response in a Zoom broadcast Tuesday. (YouTube. July 21, 2020)

Vallejo Times-Herald, By Fiona Kelliher, September 25, 2020

California could see an 89% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations by the next month if coronavirus infections continue apace, a top state health official warned Friday.

Short-term forecasts indicate that hospitalizations could skyrocket from the 2,578 patients now hospitalized to 4,864 by this time in October, said California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly during a Friday press briefing — a signal that Californians should stay vigilant as more parts of the economy open up.

“As we see these trend lines, which have been coming down and flattening, look like they’re coming up … we want to sound that bell for all of you,” Ghaly said. “We want to see us respond as a state to those slight increases.”

Although Ghaly praised the state’s “significant progress” in infection and hospitalization rates since mid-July — when a peak 7,170 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized — he flagged early signs that the state’s progress has begun to shift. Starting in mid-September, Ghaly said, infection rates have risen slightly across the state, while coronavirus-related emergency room visits have also climbed.

Although overall lower case rates have allowed many counties to reopen businesses within Gov. Gavin Newsom’s reopening system, the virus’ reproduction number has surpassed 1.0 in some regions, Ghaly said. Twenty-five of California’s 58 counties remain in the red or “widespread” tier, with another 19, including most of the Bay Area, in the purple or “substantial” tier, allowing for movie theaters and restaurants to welcome customers indoors at limited capacity.

Keeping case rates low means that the virus’ reproductive value has less of a dramatic effect on potential hospitalizations, Ghaly said — especially with the double whammy of flu season looming. But with more cases overall, “you can see how quickly case rates go up and how quickly that creates additional pressure on our hospitals,” he added.

Statewide, however, there was little change in the seven-day average of new infections and fatalities reported as of Friday. Both figures remained lower than where they were two weeks ago and significantly below their respective peaks. The 3,274 new cases and 85 deaths reported by county health departments Thursday kept each seven-day average about even — just over 3,500 cases and just below 84 deaths per day over the past week, according to data compiled by this news organization.

Ghaly’s hospitalization projection, meanwhile, would put the state on par with its Aug. 19 hospitalizations, when 4,890 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 — more than 2,000 people fewer than the state’s peak a month earlier.

“As Californians we’ve done a good job to avoid those situations, and we want to keep our guard up,” Ghaly said.

Evan Webeck contributed to this report.

Uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations in Solano County, 2 youth hospitalized


[Note that Solano County publishes a DAILY update, and displays past weeks and months in epidemic curve charts.  However, the curve charts do not display an accurate number of cases for the most recent days, as there is a lag time in receiving test results.  This methodology is accurate in a way, but it misleads the public by consistently displaying a recent downward curve which is often corrected upward on a later date. For a complete archive of day by day data, see my Excel ARCHIVE – R.S.]

Thursday, August 13: 120 new cases overnight, no new deaths.  Since the outbreak started: 4,534 cases, 41 deaths.
Compare previous report, Wednesday Aug. 12:

Summary

  • Solano County reported 120 new cases today, total of 4,534 cases since the outbreak started.  Over the last 7 days, Solano reported 575 new cases, an average of 82 per day.
  • Deaths – no new deaths today, total of 41 deaths.
  • Active cases – Solano reported 84 more ACTIVE cases today, total of 315, back to mid-July levels.  Note that only 37 of these 315 people are hospitalized, so there are a lot of infected folks out among us, hopefully quarantined.  I’ve been wondering for several weeks now… is the County equipped to contact trace so many infected persons?  Who will research this?  (See SF Chronicle report on contact tracing in Bay Area – “Solano County did not respond”.)
  • Hospitalizations – the number of currently hospitalized persons increased by 1 today, total of 38.  However, the total number hospitalized since the outbreak started increased significantly, adding 19, total of 195.  Seemingly, 19 were admitted and 18 were discharged?  (The County no longer reports Total Hospitalized, but I can add the new hospitalization numbers in the Age Group report – see below.)  Again now for a third week, the County offers no information about availability of ICU beds and ventilators.
  • Testing – The County reports today that 1,612 more residents were tested, new total of 61,870.  We still have a long way to go: only 13.8% of Solano County’s 447,643 residents (2019) have been tested.

Percent Positive Test Rate

Solano County reported today’s 7-day percent positive test rate rose from 4.1% Tuesday to 4.4% Wednesday and to 5.4% today.  Solano had never registered below 5% since the County began publicly reporting test rates on July 13. (Note that the positive test rate graphic chart may be misleading – see NOTE at top of this page.)  The County posted a high of 9.3% on July 22.  CONTEXT: Health officials and news reports focus on percent positive test rates as one of the best metrics for measuring the spread of the virus.  The California 7-day rate was reported today at 6.7%.

By Age Group

  • Youth 17 and under – an uptick of 15 new cases today, total of 456 cases. AND… for the first time since July 6, Solano County is reporting new hospitalizations among this very young age group: 2 new hospitalizations, a total of 4 hospitalizations since the outbreak began.  Still thankfully, no deathsIt is clear that our young people are catching the disease, some have required hospitalization, and it seems too many youth are ignoring public health orders.  Cases among Solano youth are 10% of the 4,534 total confirmed cases.
  • Persons 18-49 years of age – 73 new cases today, total of 2,776 cases.  This age group is 41% of the population in Solano, but represents over 61% of the 4,534 total cases, by far the highest percentage of all age groups.  The County reported 9 new hospitalizations in this age group today, the highest single-day increase so far, now totaling 57 hospitalized since the outbreak began.  No new deaths among this age group, total of 3 deaths.  This young to middle age group is very active.  Some are surely ignoring public health orders, and many are providing essential services among us.  I expect his group is a major factor in the spread of the virus.
  • Persons 50-64 years of age – 23 new cases today, total of 866 cases.  This age group represents 19% of the 4,534 total cases.  The County reported 2 new hospitalizations in this age group today, total of 57 hospitalized since the outbreak began.  No new deaths among this age group, total of 4 deaths.
  • Persons 65 years or older – 9 new cases today, total of 435 cases.  This age group represents 9.6% of the 4,534 total cases6 new hospitalizations today, total of 77 hospitalized since the outbreak began.   No new deaths in this age group today, total of 34.  In this older age group, almost 18% of cases required hospitalization at one time, a substantially higher percentage than in the lower age groups.  This group accounts for 34 of the 41 deaths, or 83%.

City Data

  • Benicia added 4 new cases today, total of 108 cases since the outbreak began.
  • Dixon added 17 new cases today, total of 296 cases.
  • Fairfield added 26 new cases today, total of 1,436.
  • Rio Vista remained steady today, total of 32 cases.
  • Suisun City added 5 new cases today, total of 330 cases.
  • Vacaville added 25 new cases today, total of 777 cases.
  • Vallejo added 43 (!) new cases today, total of 1,539 cases.
  • Unincorporated areas – Unincorporated areas remained steady today, total of 16 cases.

Race / Ethnicity

The County report on race / ethnicity includes case numbers, hospitalizations, deaths and Solano population statistics.  There are also tabs showing a calculated rate per 100,000 by race/ethnicity for each of these boxes.  This information is discouragingly similar to national reports that indicate worse outcomes among black and brown Americans.  As of today:

  • White Americans are 39% of the population in Solano County, but only account for 21% of cases, 24% of hospitalizations and 24% of deaths.
  • Black Americans are 14% of Solano’s population, and account for 13% of cases, but 20% of hospitalizations, and 27% of deaths.
  • Latinx Americans are 26% of Solano’s population, but account for 27% of cases, 33% of hospitalizations, and 24% of deaths.
  • Asian Americans are 14% of Solano’s population, and account for 9% of cases and 13% of hospitalizations, but 16% of deaths.

Much more…

The County’s new and improved Coronavirus Dashboard is full of much more information, too extensive to cover here on a daily basis.  The Benicia Independent will continue to summarize daily and highlight a report or two.  Check out the Dashboard at https://doitgis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=055f81e9fe154da5860257e3f2489d67.

90-year old Fairfield man Solano County’s latest COVID-19 death

Solano placed on state’s Covid watch list as hospitalizations rise

Fairfield Daily Republic, by Todd R. Hansen, June 30, 2020
Dr. Bela Matyas, Solano County Health Officer

FAIRFIELD — A local man in his 90s became the 24th person to die in Solano County because of Covid-19, the Public Health Division reported on Monday.

He contracted the disease from his family, Dr. Bela Matyas, the county public health officer, said in a phone interview.

“It’s not linked to any of the outbreaks in the county,”said Matyas, adding the man had been in the hospital for nearly a month.

Solano also became the 16th county to be placed on the state’s watch list because of a jump in hospitalizations, which if prolonged, could mean the forced closure of bars.

The county reported a jump of 13 hospitalizations since Friday afternoon’s report, bringing the total to 38.

The number of new cases, however, only went up by eight to 1,116, despite testing numbers going up by 2,504 to 29,620, the county reported. The number of active cases also saw a significant decrease from 250 to 70.

“Most of those cases are from the past and we finally caught up to them,” said Matyas, explaining that many are from the 80 or so farm laborers who work in the Sonoma and Napa vineyards, but spread the disease primarily because of their close living conditions in Fairfield and Dixon.

Graduation parties and Memorial Day weekend activities were also primary causes to why the active case numbers climbed, and now that those infectious periods are over and the county reporting has caught up, the numbers fell.

Matyas remains concerned about another spike because of the Fourth of July weekend.

And that could have a significant impact on Solano bars.

While Matyas said there is a “disconnect” between bar patronage and the actual cause of Covid-19 cases in Solano – again, due mostly to family gatherings – he understands why Gov. Gavin Newsom has to send some kind of message to county residents to ease their social practices.

Matyas said if the numbers continue to linger at the higher level, or go up over a three-day period, then the state will issue a recommendation that the bars be closed.

If the trend continues for 14 days, the state will order the bars closed, Matyas said.

Of the eight new cases reported, three were in Fairfield, bringing the city’s count to 363. Vallejo added two more to take its total to 462, and Vacaville also had two more cases for a tally of 152. The final new case was reported in Dixon, which now has 39 confirmed cases.

Suisun City (70), Benicia (25) and the combination of Rio Vista and the unincorporated area of the county (15) stayed the same.