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State Data Gets Buggy; What Happens When Hospitals Reach Capacity? COVID-19 Update For Aug. 3-7

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California Health & Human Services Agency secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly speaks about COVID-19 via Zoom on August 4, 2020.

During a livestreamed address earlier this week, California Health & Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly dropped a bombshell: that the state infectious disease database known as CalREDIE, where labs report testing data and county public health departments extract local numbers, has been undercounting new cases.

At the same time, as the coronavirus has continued to spread, we’ve been hearing reports of hospitals nearing their capacities for both regular and ICU beds. So what happens when they fill up?

This week’s COVID-19 update features excerpts from conversations with Carrie Monteiro, spokesperson for the Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency, about the alternate care site in Porterville that is now treating overflow COVID-19 patients from area hospitals, as well as Mariposa County Health Officer Dr. Eric Sergienko about his county’s low case count and the role of tourism in the outbreak.

A snapshot for Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, and Tulare Counties (note that some numbers may have changed between the interview and publication): 

  • As of August 6: 675 deaths out of 60,344 cases; 846 people hospitalized and 178 in ICUs
  • As of July 30: 573 deaths out of 52,249 cases; 886 people hospitalized and 186 in ICUs
  • In the last week, 102 people in our coverage area succumbed to the disease. In the week before, the total was 87.
  • Average cases reported daily in the last week: 1,156
  • You can always find up-to-date information for your county here
Kerry Klein is an award-winning reporter whose coverage of public health, air pollution, drinking water access and wildfires in the San Joaquin Valley has been featured on NPR, KQED, Science Friday and Kaiser Health News. Her work has earned numerous regional Edward R. Murrow and Golden Mike Awards and has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists and Society of Environmental Journalists. Her podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool was named a podcast “listeners couldn’t get enough of in 2021” by the radio aggregator NPR One.
Kathleen Schock is the host of Valley Edition. In the show, Kathleen and the Valley Public Radio news team explore issues that matter to the residents of Central California through engaging conversations and in-depth reporting.
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