As schools in California reopen, a summer wave of COVID-19 is causing concern, with cases increasing by a little over 10%. The surge, while not massive, is affecting individuals of all ages. Dr. Dean Blumberg, a pediatric infectious diseases expert at UC Davis Health, emphasizes the importance of updated vaccines to tackle this situation.
Impact Across Ages
Dr. Blumberg notes that there has been a 10% rise in COVID-related hospitalizations but no significant increase in the death rate.
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COVID-19 cases rise with new variant, Eris, as California school year begins https://t.co/iKuprwyiRu
— CBS Sacramento (@CBSSacramento) August 8, 2023
This is due to the fact that around 97% of the population has developed immunity to COVID through prior infection or vaccination.
Community Testing and Support
La Familia counseling center in south Sacramento continues to offer free COVID tests every Monday, serving the community’s needs since 2020. The center’s efforts have contributed to over 34,000 tests and more than 7,000 vaccines administered.
Wastewater Surveillance for Tracking Cases
Wastewater surveillance has become a vital tool for tracking COVID-19 cases. Dr. Blumberg explains that even though COVID primarily affects the respiratory system, traces of the virus are excreted in stool, making wastewater testing effective in estimating the extent of infections.
Preparations in Schools
With a few staff members testing positive for COVID, school districts like San Juan Unified and Sac City Unified are gearing up to respond effectively to potential cases as they start classes. Dr. Blumberg anticipates that schools have learned from previous experiences and are better equipped to screen and exclude symptomatic individuals to prevent further spread.
Dr. Blumberg warns of a potential winter surge if a vaccine for the new variant is not available. He underscores the continued importance of taking COVID-19 seriously and encourages ongoing testing and vigilance to keep the community safe.
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