As California reopens, health officials monitor spike in COVID-19 cases

As parts of California reopen, officials are monitoring a recent spike in positive coronavirus cases.

Napa County is reporting an increase in coronavirus cases two weeks after Memorial Day. On average, Napa County would see 1.5 new cases every day. And in the last week, they’re seeing four a day.

As of Tuesday,  there were 157 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Napa County; 55 of them are active. 

There are a total of 42 people waiting for test results and 127 people are being monitored after coming in contact with someone who was positive.

One increase in positive cases was linked to a large family who lives together and also was in contact with other relatives nearby.

Another person who tested positive went to a crowded graduation party and another went to church.

A slight spike was somewhat expected after testing became more available and parts of the economy started opening up again.

Napa County says right now, they have the hospital capacity to take care of patients – but may need to up their resources to manage more contact tracing.

They’re being very cautious.

"Locally we’re not seeing more deaths," said Dr. Karen Relucio. "But we’ve seen that in other parts of California, it's important to bring home there’s still that risk see more hospitalization if outbreak gets out of control." 

A graph on the California Department of Public Health website shows a large spike of new coronavirus cases from May 28th to 30th, from 2,189 daily cases to 3,785. There was a drop and then another uptick from June 3rd to 5th, from 2,120 daily cases to 3,115.

Since June 5, overall California has been trending down, but nine counties across the state, including Santa Clara County are being monitored after noticeable increases. The state is now helping the counties manage their outbreaks.

Not all counties are experiencing a jump in cases though. A San Mateo County spokesperson said the daily counts of new cases in the past few days have gone up and down.

The Alameda County Public Health Department said they’re currently not seeing a spike. The health department reported an increase in cases a few weeks ago that have since declined. They attributed it to people interacting more with each other with eased shelter in place restrictions.

In a statement, the department spokesperson said, “There will be fluctuations in the numbers of new cases over time. We’ll continue to monitor these closely, as well as our COVID-19 hospitalizations, and take action to protect community health. We also must balance this with the need for incremental reopening to support our residents’ mental and physical health and avoid further exacerbating social determinants of health. We take a measured approach to our decisions based on the local data trends and the emerging impacts of modifications to shelter in place restrictions.”

Health officials are keeping their eye on the numbers following weeks of protests for George Floyd. 

They say it’s still too soon to know if a major increase of positive cases will come from those gatherings

The state is monitoring counties and if there’s an increase that goes above their threshold they have to come up with a plan to lower the cases.

That could mean anything from more education to tightening shelter in place orders again.