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27 New COVID-19 Deaths in Fresno County, Officials Warn Against Labor Day Gatherings



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Fresno County reported 27 new deaths related to COVID-19 since Friday. Dr. Rais Vohra, Interim Fresno County Health Officer says it’s a sobering reality of where we are in the pandemic.

Vohra says many of these recent deaths are people that have been hospitalized for several weeks. Others had underlying health conditions and were only hospitalized a short time before succumbing to the disease.

“The number of new deaths we’re seeing now are the tragic result of the surge that started back in July,” Vohra told reporters during a Zoom call Tuesday evening.
The good news, at least for now, is that it appears the county will not have to open an alternative care site at the Fresno Convention Center as hospitalizations are in a downward trend. There are 184 COVID hospitalizations. That’s down six since Friday.
Here are the latest numbers released by the county Tuesday afternoon (numbers in brackets are the change since Friday):
  • Total Cases: 25,185 (+222)
  • Total Deaths: 290 (+27)
  • Currently Hospitalized: 184 (-6)
  • Recovered: 12,572 (+666)
  • Test Results Received and Processed: 208,658 (+12,684)

Labor Day Weekend Warning

Official portrait of Buddy Mendes

“Social gatherings continue to be among the leading sources of exposure and spread of COVID-19 so it is important to avoid these high-risk activities so we can continue moving in the right direction.” – Buddy Mendes, chairman of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors

The Labor Day holiday weekend is this weekend and officials are hoping to avoid a repeat of what happened Memorial Day weekend when large crowds gathered.  The county reminds residents to celebrate safely while staying apart and avoiding gatherings.

“Fresno County can’t move forward in our recovery unless we all work together to help slow the spread of the virus,” says Buddy Mendes, chairman of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors in a press release. “Social gatherings continue to be among the leading sources of exposure and spread of COVID-19 so it is important to avoid these high-risk activities so we can continue moving in the right direction.”

Fresno County will continue to operate parks at 50% capacity, offer masks, and provide health screenings to those entering throughout the weekend. Once 50% capacity is met, each park will be closed to additional traffic until vehicles leave the park and re-entry will not be allowed.

“High temperatures and holidays lead to large crowds looking to cool off, which is expected and understandable,” says Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims. “We want everyone to have fun and enjoy their time, but under these circumstances we each have the added responsibility to help keep others healthy through social distancing and the wearing of masks.”

UCSF-Fresno Launches Mobile Testing Next Week

The city of Fresno approved a grant agreement with UCSF-Fresno back in June to offer mobile testing throughout the city. The City approved $5 million from the City’s Coronavirus Relief Fund to support the project.

This Monday, the first mobile testing event will take place at Fresno City College from 8 a.m. to noon, acccording to UCSF-Fresno’s website.

Mobile COVID-19 Notifications on Your Phone

Apple has announced that it will release iOS 13.7 to the public today, including a major expansion of the COVID-19 Exposure Notification platform.

Apple and Google have unveiled a new Exposure Notifications Express system that allows public health authorities to support COVID-19 contact tracing without developing and maintaining their own application.

Public health authorities will have to opt-in to the system.

Public health authorities still have full control over the system, though, despite not needing to develop their own application. This includes controlling how the notifications are triggered, what next steps are to advise, and guidance for exposed individuals.

For users, Apple says you can now enable COVID-19 Exposure Notifications directly in the Settings app on your iPhone.

New State Data Reporting System for COVID-19

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and California Department of Technology (CDT) today announced that OptumInsight, Inc. has been selected to develop the state’s new COVID-19 data reporting system. The system will collect, track, and report COVID-19 cases, supplementing California’s current disease registry system known as CalREDIE.

A technical problem with the CalREDIE system in early August hampered public health officials’ ability to follow up with those who test positive and contact people who have been around them to limit the spread.

California’s public health director Dr. Sonia Angell suddenly resigned after the reporting issues surfaced. “Decisions were made, and we’re moving forward,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said of her departure at the time.

As far as the new reporting system is concerned, CDPH has signed a renewable, six-month, $15.3 million contract with the company to develop the data tool using funding from the federal Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases (ELC) grant.

The first phase of the new system will be up and running in October.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)