Sonoma County now has 54 confirmed cases of the coronavirus
Nearly half of the Sonoma County residents to test positive for the coronavirus are between the ages of 18 and 49, according to data released by public health officials as the number of cases crossed the threshold at which the county said it would release data.
Of the 54 people to test positive for the virus that causes the respiratory disease COVID-19, 13 have recovered from their illness.
The five additional cases reported Friday pushed the county over the milestone at which Dr. Sundari Mase, the county’s health officer, had said she would begin releasing demographic information about the infected people, including gender, age and infection location of the patients.
Also on Friday, Santa Rosa’s police department said two more employees have tested positive for the coronavirus. One is a detective and the other a patrol officer, Santa Rosa Police Chief Ray Navarro said.
On Friday, public health officials scrambled to post the information on the county’s COVID-19 website but appeared to be having “syncing” problems, according to a health services spokesman.
Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, however, posted the demographic data on her Facebook page.
According to the new data 19 of the 54 cases were people aged 50 to 64; and 10 were 65 and older. No children have tested positive.
The new data also shows that 26 cases are male and 28 are female, while 13 of the?cases were people who at some point in their lives had been hospitalized. In 41 cases, patients were or are isolated at home.
By region, seven cases were reported in the north part of the county; eight in the east; nine in the south; nine in the west and 10 in the central part of the county.
Mase said the information shows the new virus is now affecting a broad swath of the county and all age groups. No one area or group of people is more susceptible to infection, she said, and all should heed county and state directives to stay home as much as possible and practice social distancing and good hygiene.
“You can get it from someone by just going out,” Mase said during a media briefing.
The new confirmed cases at Santa Rosa’s police department are in addition to the three officers who already were diagnosed with coronavirus, bringing the number of positive cases in the city police department to five, police officials said.
The police detective and the officer are among six department employees who were self-quarantining earlier this week because they might have been exposed to the virus. Of that group, at least one has tested negative.
The police detective and officer have had little to no recent contact with the public, Navarro said. He declined to disclose the condition of the two officers, citing privacy laws.
Mase said the news that two more police officers had become infected with the new virus illustrates the need to prioritize testing and evaluation of law enforcement, fire and medical professionals who show symptoms.
“It’s definitely worrisome because these are our first responders,” she said.
In addition to existing safety precautions the police department has taken to curb the spread of the infectious disease, officers will work an adjusted schedule to limit contact with each other and the public.
Sergeants, field evidence technicians and others will work a rotating on-and-off shift before taking an additional 14 days for self-isolation, Navarro said.
“This is really a national practice that many agencies are going toward to expand or extend the ability to isolate officers when they’re off duty,” Navarro said during a separate news briefing. “That two weeks off allows (them) to look for the signs and be proactive on calling in sick.”
It’s not clear at this time how the officers contracted the virus, though Navarro said it is possible they may have been exposed to it before the shelter-in-place order went into effect last week.
In addition to the five Santa Rosa police officers, a county sheriff’s deputy and at least three health care workers are among those who have tested positive for the virus.
Overall, one local man has died from complications of COVID-19, which as of late Friday had killed nearly 1,700 people across the United States.
Of the 54 local cases, 12 are tied to travel; 10 are the result of close contact with a known COVID-19 patient; and 11 are considered community transmission of the virus. Another 21 cases are still under investigation.
The number of cases thus far reported is not a reflection of how prevalent the virus is in the local community, Mase said. “You can’t only get prevalence data if you know what the denominator is,” she said, adding such a calculation would require testing a much greater number of people in the community.
“These are the people among those who were symptomatic,” she said, she said of the current testing results.
Tests are currently being conducted in the county public health lab, at Kaiser Permanente and commercial labs such as Quest Diagnostics and Labcorp.
County health officials have logged a total of 1,214 tests for the virus as of Friday, with 96% coming back negative, county public health officials said.
Mase said she’s heartened by the number of people who have recovered countywide from COVID-19. She said that statistic will continue to grow.
“Over time, the majority of people will recover,” she said.