LOS ANGELES (WR) — California has stopped eradicating or including to an inventory of counties going through extra restrictions on companies and faculties because it tries to find out the impression from an unresolved technical downside with the state’s coronavirus testing database, well being officers stated Wednesday.
The state has recorded a highest-in-the-nation 525,000 constructive assessments. However California well being officers say the true quantity is even increased. They don’t know the way a lot so till they’ll add backlogged testing information and repair the issue with the California Reportable Illness Info Alternate (CalREDIE).
The unfinished information within the nation’s most populous state has hampered public well being officers’ skill to comply with up with those that take a look at constructive and get in touch with individuals who have been round them to restrict the unfold.
“Again in February and March after we didn’t have sufficient testing, I might say we felt blind,” stated Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County’s public well being director. “I might say now we’re again to feeling blind. We don’t know the way the epidemic is trending.”
In Los Angeles County, which has 1 / 4 of the state’s 40 million residents, public well being officers have reached out to labs to get testing information instantly so that they don’t rely upon the state. Barbara Ferrer, the county’s well being director, stated she hopes to have an up to date case rely by the top of the week.
The CalREDIE system collects information from testing labs round California. The state makes use of information resembling an infection charges to find out which counties land on a watch listing. Counties should come off the listing for 14 days to have the ability to reopen sure companies and provide in-classroom instruction for elementary college students. There are 38 counties on the listing, together with Los Angeles and each different main county.
In an announcement, the state Division of Public Well being stated as it really works to “”assess the impression of the information points on illness transmission metrics,” no counties could be moved on or off the listing “till additional discover.”
The issue comes as California seems to be making progress towards a surge of infections that led Gov. Gavin Newsom final month to shut bars and indoor restaurant eating statewide and shutter faculty campuses in a lot of the state. On Wednesday, the state reported solely about 5,300 new virus circumstances, a far cry from the height of practically 13,000 reported about two weeks in the past.
The state’s an infection price, a harbinger of how a lot hospitalizations are more likely to improve, has dropped quickly within the final week, when the information downside grew to become obvious. It stood at 5.5% on Wednesday, but it surely’s unclear if when the extra information is added the decline will probably be as pronounced.
Meantime, the information on hospitalizations has proven enchancment. It’s collected in a different way, and within the final two weeks has fallen by greater than 12% to six,184 sufferers.
County well being officers say with out understanding what number of circumstances are lacking it’s onerous to know the place the virus is heading.
In Riverside County, public well being officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser stated the county’s virus case price now could be frozen at a degree that’s too excessive for elementary faculties to hunt a waiver to reopen school rooms. Kaiser advised faculty officers in a letter that the state gained’t settle for waivers till the county has a dependable case price and it’s beneath the extent mandated by the state — 200 circumstances for each 100,00 residents. Riverside’s price now could be 202.
In San Francisco, public well being officers obtain take a look at studies instantly from labs so that they don’t rely upon the state to trace or hint circumstances, stated Dr. George Rutherford, epidemiologist at College of California, San Francisco. However lengthy delays could make contact tracing — seen as a crucial instrument to cease the unfold of illness — futile, he stated.
“From a illness management standpoint, the extra time individuals have strolling round who’re contaminated and infectious with out getting remoted, the extra individuals which are going to get uncovered,” he stated.
In Los Angeles County, Ferrer urged anybody who assessments constructive to name county well being officers to allow them to conduct a contact tracing interview and establish those that might have been uncovered to allow them to keep away from infecting others.
“We’re actually nervous about the truth that we’re shedding some circumstances, and that which will actually end in some small will increase in transmission within the weeks forward,” she stated.
Related Press author Olga Rodriguez in San Francisco and Adam Beam in Sacramento contributed to this report.