More than 500 deaths in Merced County are now linked to the COVID-19, including this region’s first pandemic-related infant death, according to the Public Health Department reports before the Times press run this week.
The death toll rose to 509 as of Wednesday morning.
“While each life lost as a result of this virus is tragic, the loss of a child is felt across our entire community,” said Dr. Salvador Sandoval, Merced County’s health officer. “Our condolences go out to the family and to the many families that have suffered loss related to COVID-19. The best approach we can take to protect the children who cannot get vaccinated in our community is to get vaccinated ourselves.”
Health officials say they are seeing an increased number of cases with children (ages 0-17). During a surge in cases in recent weeks, approximately 25 percent have been identified in children whereas in previous waves only 11 percent of cases were identified within this age group, according to Public Health press release.
There were 177 new covid cases reported on Monday alone, and more than 800 new cases since last Thursday. Active cases were estimated at 2,105 on Wednesday morning, while daily cases per 100,000 residents rose to 47.1.
The communities with the highest number of cases per 1,000 residents are Dos Palos (200 as of Monday), Winton (198), Delhi (188), Livingston (187), Hilmar (176) and Gustine (176).
There were zero intensive care unit beds free in Merced County as of Monday, according to the state’s covid dashboard.
Active hospitalizations of Merced County residents was listed at 36 as of Wednesday morning, while regional ICU capacity in the San Joaquin Valley was at 10 percent.
The Merced County dashboard shows that 34.80 percent of eligible county residents are now vaccinated, but that remains far behind the statewide number that shows nearly 56 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated.
Those who would like to receive a COVID-19 vaccine are strongly encouraged to visit online at: MyTurn.ca.gov, call 1-833-422-4255 or follow the Department of Public Health social media accounts for mobile COVID-19 vaccination site locations.
Merced County health officials strongly urge all residents to exercise the following safety measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19:
✓ Get vaccinated
✓ Follow CDPH guidelines on masking
✓ Practice social distancing
✓ Avoid large crowds and poorly ventilated areas