Could rising COVID-19 hospitalizations prompt mask mandate?

Local hospitalizations related to the coronavirus continued to rise in San Diego County, though not fast enough to push the region into the federal government’s highest tier of COVID-19 activity.

Such a move would be a major development because the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends universal indoor coverage if the number of recent hospital admissions reaches 10 or more per 100,000 residents. As of Thursday night, San Diego County price it was 8.9 per 100,000.

While San Francisco and Sacramento counties have already reached the highest level — color-coded orange — with rates of 10.2 and 15.4 respectively, Southern California’s most populous areas still hover just below the threshold. Los Angeles and Orange counties are listed at 9.7 per 100,000, and Riverside County is slightly below San Diego at 7.2.

So far, the California Department of Public Health has not moved to accept the CDC’s recommendation and restore indoor coverage statewide, but local health departments seemed keenly interested in seeing what might happen if those who are on the cusp of peak averse yellow to the most severe orange level on the federal agency’s color-coded threat map.

According to the county health department’s weekly update, the total number of confirmed and suspected hospitalizations reported at all San Diego County civilian hospitals reached 361 on Wednesday, 26 more than were collectively hospitalized a week ago. New cases reported, however, appeared to be easing somewhat, falling by 281 over a week to 1,767 on Wednesday.

These numbers, experts warn, are not the whole picture. They only include “PCR” results performed by health care providers and testing centers, but generally exclude positives from home test kits, which are not reported to county health departments.

Sewage sampling, which can detect tiny fragments of the coronavirus’s genetic code, has recently been considered a better way to measure the true prevalence of the coronavirus in the community.

The latest sewage data published by SEARCH, a collaborative analysis team led by scientists at UC San Diego and Scripps Research, show that the presence of the virus declined in late June, dropping from about 7 million copies of the coronavirus on June 12 to 6 million on the 29 June. remained well below its all-time high of 46.5 million on January 10.

Despite producing significantly more infections than previous waves, Omicron proved far less likely to cause hospitalization and death than its predecessors. Currently, BA.4 and BA.5, the original descendants of Omicron, account for a significant proportion of new cases, reflecting national trends.

There is evidence, noted Dr. Seema Shah, medical director of the county health department’s epidemiology and immunization branch, said 4 and 5 have a more significant ability to put infected people in hospitals. This appeared to be the case, he noted, at Portugal, a country with a similar vaccinated population that saw these two subvariants arrive earlier than in the United States. Since the 4 and 5 really started to take hold in mid-to-late January, he said, there’s no reason to expect hospitalizations to slow down anytime soon. After all, it often takes weeks for infected people to become ill enough to require significant medical attention.

“The forecast tells us there’s a very good chance this will continue and we haven’t seen a peak in hospitalizations yet,” he said.

While the state has yet to explore the possibility of reinstating previous indoor covering requirements, some are clear about the abilities of face coverings to slow the spread of even the highly contagious subtypes 4 and 5 that have spread so quickly.

Meinrat O. Andreae, a respected chemist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography whose research focuses on how aerosols—fine particles suspended in the air—affect climate, has studied the coverage and transmission of the coronavirus, publishing an extensive paper on the subject in May 2021, with an international panel of experts.

Despite the virus’s increased ability to infect humans, the expert said there would still be significant benefit from coverage.

“The bottom line is: wearing a mask, even if it’s nobody else’s, cuts the risk of infection in half if it’s a surgical mask, and cuts it by 90 percent or better in the case of a good N95 fit,” Andreae said. an email on Thursday. “For me, it’s well worth the small inconvenience of wearing a mask, no matter what everyone else is doing.”

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Could rising COVID-19 hospitalizations prompt mask mandate? Source link Could rising COVID-19 hospitalizations prompt mask mandate?

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