Bay Area health workers urge safety precautions as COVID cases rise – Santa Cruz Sentinel

SANTA CRUZ – Twelve Bay Area health workers stress the importance of taking safety precautions, including continued indoor masking, as the region experiences a further rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, according to a statement from Santa Cruz County.

The Bay Area now has the highest COVID infection rates in California. The current wave is powered
by highly contagious subvariants of Omicron.

Actual case rates — including for Santa Cruz County — are higher than those reported due to the widespread use of home testing. On Friday, Santa Cruz County spokesman Jason Hoppin said the county had 1,379 active COVID cases. “We think that’s a fraction of the actual number of cases,” Hoppin said.

Health workers reiterate their continued support for people to mask indoors, keep
tests at their fingertips and make sure they’re up to date on vaccinations by getting reminders when they’re eligible.

“There is a lot of COVID at the moment, so it is time to take more precautionary measures to
protect yourself and your loved ones,” Santa Cruz County Health Officer Gail Newel said in a prepared statement.

Santa Cruz County has reported two deaths from COVID-19 in the past two weeks and the county now has 262 deaths from the virus, Hoppin confirmed.

The milestone of one million COVID deaths in the United States underscores the need
for continued vigilance against the virus. Although not mandatory, masking is still recommended
by the California Department of Public Health for most public indoor environments and health officials
say wearing higher quality masks (N95/KN95 or tight-fitting surgical masks) indoors will help people protect their health. Vaccines remain the best protection against serious illness and death from COVID.

Health officials say people should also stay home if they feel sick and get tested immediately.
Authorities are also encouraging getting tested after potential exposure and limiting large gatherings to well-ventilated spaces or outdoors.

For people who are more likely to get seriously ill from COVID-19 infection, there are medications that can lower your risk of serious illness and death. Tell your health care provider right away if you test positive.

Sentinel’s Donald Fukui contributed to this report.

By the numbers

Current hospitalizations: 3

Current intensive care hospitalizations: 0

Intensive care beds open: 7

Deaths: 262

Source: Santa Cruz County

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Susan W. Lloyd