Fourth Sonoma County resident dies from complications of the coronavirus
A fourth Sonoma County resident has died from complications of the new coronavirus, an indication the infectious disease that’s inflicted pain and death around the world remains a major threat in the area, county health officials said Monday.
Dr. Sundari Mase, the county’s health officer, declined to release any information about the person — other than it was someone 65 or older like the previous three people who died.
The virus-related death comes a week after the previous fatality and provides a stark reminder as local public health officials allow more retailers and other businesses deemed low risk to reopen the community outbreak may have eased but by no means has it ended.
“It signifies that we’re not out of the woods,” Mase said during a conference call with The Press Democrat’s editorial board.
More cases of infected residents, she said, are likely to be detected as a result of a higher volume of daily testing and the ongoing gradual lifting of public and business restrictions in the area through the summer.
Around the country, health experts have predicted a second big wave of coronavirus cases to swamp certain cities and states in the fall, but Mase said it was too early to determine whether that will occur in Sonoma County. She was certain, though, that as people return to work locally and interact at parks and other public places in the coming weeks and months there will be more transmission of the virus in the community.
“We’re reporting somewhere in between 5 and 15 cases every day and have been pretty steadily, partly because we’re testing more people and partly because COVID is there and it’s easily transmitted,” the county’s top public health official said.
During a later press briefing Monday, Mase was asked what she expects as an eventual local death toll from the coronavirus, she said: “Predicting things like the number of deaths or hospitalizations is really difficult, like a crystal-ball thing.”
As of Sunday, five COVID-19 patients were hospitalized in Sonoma County and two of them getting treatment for the virus in hospital intensive-care units, according to California Department of Public Health data.
Regarding the latest death, which occurred Sunday and was announced Monday, county officials declined to reveal the person’s gender, age, place of residence and the way the person contracted the virus.
Officials also declined to provide that demographic information about the previous local COVID-19 deaths on May 2, April 10 and March 20.
Also, Napa County reported its third virus-related death Monday, an elderly patient from Napa who died at a local hospital, county officials said in a prepared statement.
That county’s first death during the pandemic occurred March 31 when Santa Rosa Police Detective Marylou Armer, 43, an American Canyon resident, died at a Vallejo hospital.
Napa County has 79 confirmed virus infections as of Monday night.
In Sonoma County as of Monday night, there have been 312 local cases since the pathogen emerged with the announcement of the first local infection on March 2.
There are 140 active cases, including the 5 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, and 168 people have recovered from the respiratory disease.