COVID escalates

Butte County nearly doubles single week high in coronavirus cases amid strictest measures

With the North State already under the strictest prevention orders from California health officials, coronavirus surged in Butte County over the weekend, with 662 new cases reported by the county Department of Public Health since Friday (Dec. 11).

Public Health announced the news this afternoon (Dec. 15) after requiring an additional day to validate the large amount of test results. The spike increased the county’s total to 5,574 cases since the pandemic started this year. The local death toll remained unchanged at 67.

The previous Monday (Dec. 7), Butte County had recorded 4,638 cases. This single-week spike of 936 nearly doubles the previous high of 472 from the first week in December.

The Greater Sacramento region, which includes Butte County, came under the state’s stay-in-place order last Thursday night when hospitals’ intensive care unit capacity regionally fell below 15 percent. In previous interviews, Butte County Public Health Director Danette York told the CN&R that COVID-19 has exhibited a pattern in which a surge in cases predicts an increase in hospitalizations (and deaths) in the weeks that follow.

According to the California Department of Public Health, the soonest Butte County’s region could exit the stay-at-home order would be Jan. 1, 2021, and then only “if ICU capacity projections for the following month are above or equal to 15 percent.”

A coronavirus vaccine is on the way. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday “Vaccinate All 58”—a campaign to distribute vaccinations statewide to each county. Meanwhile, state health officials have launched a concerted effort to recruit providers to “support the coronavirus medical response.”

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