Yolo County sees significant spikes in COVID-19, influenza and RSV – Daily Democrat

The number of COVID-19 cases is rising again.

Since early November, Yolo County’s COVID-19 case rate has increased 72% to 8.1% from 4.7 per 100,000 people per day, said Dr. Yolo County Public Health Officer Aimee Sisson addressed the board of directors during Tuesday’s meeting.

“While these readings are nowhere near the record high of 254 in January 2022, they represent a significant increase in transmission,” Sisson said.

Sewage readings tracking COVID-19 are consistent with case rates and show an increase at every monitoring site in Yolo County except Woodland. As of Tuesday, reported wastewater levels at the Davis site are at the highest levels the county has seen since July.

Due to the increase in the case rate, the county has transitioned from moderate transmission to significant community transmission. However, hospital admissions in the region remain relatively low, with just five COVID-19 positive patients hospitalized late last week. While they remain low locally, trends show that hospital admissions are slowly increasing nationwide, Sisson said.

This increase in case rate is largely due to two new subvariants that quickly established themselves as the dominant strain in the state. BQ.1 and BQ.1.1, two closely related descendants of the previously dominant strain BQ.5, together now account for more than half of California’s new COVID-19 cases.

“The good news is that bivalent boosters remain effective against BQ subvariants,” Sisson pointed out. “Now is a good time to get that booster.”

To date, there is no evidence that the BQ subvariants cause more severe disease than previous strains.

Everyone aged five years and older is recommended to receive a single dose of the bivalent booster vaccine if it has been at least two months since their last COVID-19 vaccination. Bivalent boosters for these six months to four years are expected in January 2023.

“Bivalent boosters are particularly important for older adults, whose immunity declines faster than younger individuals,” Sisson explained.

Beginning Tuesday, the Woodland stationary test-to-treat location will transition to a seven-day-a-week mobile site, rotating locations and continuing to provide free testing and access to treatment thanks to a new OptumServe treatment bus.

In addition to rapid antigen testing, the mobile testing and treatment bus is offering free COVID-19 telehealth consultations and medication for those who test positive and have symptoms. The treatment bus will serve multiple locations in Woodland, Davis and West Sacramento. Visit https://cityofwoodland.org/ for more information.

Sisson then moved on to an update on the influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) season, which she described as “early and severe.”

“It’s unusual to see such high RSV activity so early in the season,” she said.

While most people recover from RSV, a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms, within a week or two, RSV can be serious for infants and older infants. RSV can cause pneumonia and bronchiolitis in children under one year old. RSV activities are already causing a shortage of pediatric beds in California hospitals as they try to care for large numbers of sick children.

“To put things in perspective, COVID-19 currently causes less disease than the flu and RSV,” Sisson said.

Regarding influenza, Northern California, including Yolo County, transitioned from low influenza activity to moderate this week. Sisson said flu virus sewage levels rose significantly in Davis in early November.

To avoid a “triple” winter, Sisson urged residents to get a flu shot and an updated COVID-19 booster, wear a good quality mask inside, wash hands frequently or use hand sanitizer and stay home stay when you are sick.

“There are many respiratory viruses out there right now and it’s important to take these steps to protect ourselves, especially as we prepare to gather over the upcoming bank holiday,” concluded Sisson.

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