SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — Sacramento County’s public health officer said Thursday that state projections show the area’s surging cases of COVID-19 could reach a peak as soon as late January or early February.
Dr. Olivia Kasirye told reporters that while cases keep trending upward, things could start leveling out. But Kasirye and other public health officials repeatedly stressed the importance of staying up to date on vaccinations and taking precautions to help lower local case numbers.
“We do understand the exhaustion that everyone is feeling. It’s a hard time, but I think we need to remain hopeful that we will get through this and we need to work together,” Kasirye said. “And we know what works, so that is why we continue to focus on that message. Please get vaccinated, please wear a mask if you’re going out in the public, and if you’re sick, please stay home.”
Sacramento County’s most recent seven-day average case rate was 201.3 per 100,000 people. During the last major spike during the winter of 2020, the highest case rate numbers were recorded at over 63 per 100,000.
The number of hospitalized patients has also been increasing in the county. At last count, 483 people were hospitalized with the virus and there were 80 ICU cases.
California health authorities announced over the weekend that hospital staff members who test positive but are symptom-free can continue working. The Department of Public Health said the new policy was prompted by “critical staffing shortages.” It asked hospitals to make every attempt to fill openings by bringing in employees from outside staffing agencies.
“We recognize how weary those staff are,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom while visiting a Southern California testing site Wednesday.
Newsom said California has contracted over 2,300 out-of-state health care staff in recent weeks, and more are on their way. Dr. Kasirye said Sacramento County has been reaching out to the state for help with hospital staffing support.
COVID-19 test positivity is also soaring above past numbers. Last week, test positivity reached 42.6% in Sacramento County.
While community testing site wait times are still hours long, Health Program Manager Liz Gomez said those sites are “seeing a little bit of a leveling off” when it comes to the demand for tests.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.