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COVID-19 Surge Hitting Northern California Counties

Andrea Pizzini
Flickr / Creative Commons
A COVID patient with Down Syndrome sleeps.

The resurgence of COVID-19 is hitting hard in Northern California. According to an analysis by CalMatters, more Californians are hospitalized with COVID-19 in six rural counties than at any other time since the pandemic began. Hospital officials blame low vaccination rates for the outbreak. Four of the six counties most affected by the surge have lower vaccination rates than the state average.

According to the same CalMatters analysis, the number of COVID-19 patients being hospitalized in Del Norte, Tuolumne, Lake, Humboldt, Nevada, and Mendocino counties have more than tripled in the past five weeks.

In addition, three more counties — Amador, Placer and Shasta — have similar numbers of hospitalized COVID patients compared to their winter surge.

All of the affected counties are lightly-populated, have limited hospital beds and staffing for intensive care units. Del Norte and Lake counties had no ICU beds available as of Wednesday, according to the state data. State public health officials on Monday issued anorderrequiring hospitals statewide to accept transfer patients from facilities with limited ICU capacity.

Making matters worse, some of these hard-hit northern counties, including Lake, Mendocino, and Shasta, are experiencinglarge wildfires and dangerous smoke that leaves its residents vulnerable to respiratory illnesses and heart attacks.

Sunni M. Khalid is a veteran of more than 40 years in journalism, having worked has in print, radio, television, and web journalism.