COVID TESTING & VACCINE INFO: For more information on COVID-19 vaccines, testing, and masking, contact the Mendocino County Public Health COVID19 Call Center at (707) 472-2759 or visit their website here. You can read our ongoing coverage of the pandemic here, and find the current county COVID-19 data here.
UPDATE 7:45 p.m. — Mendocino County has announced another three deaths and 100 cases, read our latest update here:
MENDOCINO Co., 8/30/21 — Mendocino County hospitals reached full capacity in their intensive care units (ICUs) at several points during the last week due to an influx of COVID-19 patients, Mendocino County Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren announced Friday. Mirroring hospitalizations, average daily cases continued at high rates over the last several weeks. The nearly 54 new positive daily cases exceed peak numbers seen during the winter surge.
This past week, four Mendocino County residents died from the virus within four days of each other, bringing the overall total so far to 61 COVID-19 deaths in the county. Eleven died in the last month, including the two youngest people so far during the pandemic: a 41-year-old woman from Willits and a 43-year-old man from Ukiah, both of whom were unvaccinated and had co-morbidities. “No one is truly safe, and our young people need to realize that,” Coren emphasized.
As of Friday, Mendocino County’s average of 54 new cases daily over the prior week is a slight but not yet notable decline from the week prior. The total number of cases were 5,927, with 1,281 new cases — nearly 22% of all cases during the pandemic — reported in the last month. On the morning of August 27, Coren said there were 32 patients in the hospital, and 11 in the ICU, calling hospitals “nearly overwhelmed,” and noting some emergency room patients had experienced delays. Hospital staff has been using surge beds to increase capacity and called in additional support from state and private resources, which has kept staff to patient ratios the same, he added.
The county’s current vaccine efficacy rate was over 99.56%, with 210 breakthrough cases out of 48,729 people who have received two vaccine doses. Coren said there had been a slight decrease in the rate of vaccinations countywide in the past week compared to an upswing in residents getting vaccinated during the recent surge. Coren noted that at the current rate of vaccination, the county would not reach the 90% herd immunity that scientists estimate is needed to stop the Delta variant until February 2022. He urged residents to get vaccinated.
The county is continuing to hold vaccine clinics at different locations, and third shot boosters are available for certain approved conditions. Additional boosters, Delta-specific vaccines, and vaccine approval for younger children are expected in the coming months.
During the August 27 weekly press conference, Coren warned that the surge is likely to continue for at least another month or two — meaning high hospitalization rates and more deaths from the virus are possible. Since late July, Mendocino County, along with Humboldt, Lake, and Del Norte, have all seen a substantial increase in positive COVID-19 cases, with Northern California surging at a higher rate than parts of the state. Some patients from across the region have been transferred to Mendocino County hospitals, and Mendocino residents are also being transferred out of the county, for both COVID-19 treatment and unrelated medical care, due to the lack of beds — and certain surgeries are delayed.
The vast majority of both hospitalizations and deaths in the last month have been amongst unvaccinated people, and the lack of available beds has an impact on medical care for non-COVID patients.
With schools opening in the county, Coren said that testing identified a number of cases, which contact tracers determined were due to infections from outside the school, and as of yet not transmitted within schools. The county has issued guidance for participants and attendees of student sports, and added that similar guidance would be issued for after school activities soon. Some school districts, including Ukiah Unified, have made the ongoing Covid-19 case counts available to the public (see here).
Due to strain on available medical transportation services from COVID patients, people that would normally be transferred to out-of-county facilities for psychiatric holds known as “5150” via ambulances are being transported via alternative vehicles to expand capacity. Temporary housing has been set up for patients waiting for placements in an appropriate facility, explained Mendocino County Behavioral Health’s Dr. Jenine Miller during the press conference.
Some essential workers, including health care workers, school staff, fire, law enforcement, and emergency medical staff will need to be vaccinated or regularly tested, and again Coren encouraged residents to get vaccinated. Noting that there are a number of boosters and vaccine approvals expected for new strains and for younger children in the coming months, he urged residents to volunteer to help with vaccination events in the coming months by contacting North Coast Opportunities.
Many of the current cases are being transmitted through retail and restaurants, Coren said, and encouraged residents to avoid large gatherings and take extra precautions when indoors with children or those with who might be immunocompromised.
Coren will be giving another update on Covid-19 during this week’s supervisors’ meeting, and again for the county’s now weekly press conference, at 2 p.m. on September 3.
The full county press conference from August 27 can be seen here below. Included are current guidelines after exposure whether or not you are vaccinated, as well as other information about the county’s current pandemic response. The slide show in the presentation is included below the video.