New models show differing virus peak times
BY SABRA STAFFORD
The number of COVID-19 cases will likely see a significant increase this week in Stanislaus County as the public health agency undertakes more testing of residents. The Stanislaus County Health Services Agency also released new modeling on Tuesday, with some predicting a peak in the summer and another showing April as the peak month.
The SCHSA has partnered with Verily’s Baseline COVID-19 Program to offer drive-through testing to residents. The program started Monday and expects to be testing up to 500 residents per week.
The testing is not just open to anyone arriving at the site. Residents can screen their symptoms and, if eligible, can make an appointment for testing at the Salida Library online by using the Baseline COVID-19 Program online screener and appointment scheduling system found at www.projectbaseline.com/COVID19.
This program is first focusing on high-risk populations as advised by national guidelines.
“We have wanted to offer more COVID-19 testing opportunities to people at risk for severe disease within Stanislaus County, but limited testing supplies made this a challenge,” said Stanislaus County Public Health Director Dr. Julie Vaishampayan. “Our partnership with Verily will help bring the resources and tools to Stanislaus County to offer COVID-19 testing without over loading the healthcare system.”
Modesto has the largest number of cases in Stanislaus County at 91, followed by the unincorporated area of the county with 40. Ceres has 31 cases, Patterson 22, Turlock 18, Riverbank 10, Newman 8, Waterford 7 and Oakdale 5.
SCHSA released four new modeling predictions on Tuesday. The models look at the transmission rate, when the COVID-19 epidemic started, the amount of social distancing that has been practiced and the number of patients with COVID-19 who are hospitalized. The models focusing on the region of Stanislaus County use the same parameters of some variables, but some of them are different from the others. For example, the models include 25 to 40 percent participation of social distancing. As a result, they predict different timing and growth of hospital beds needed for COVID-19 patients.
Models from UC Davis and Bayesiant both predict Stanislaus County will hit a peak in mid-June and will surpass hospital bed capacity. The University of Pennsylvania model predicts the area will hit a peak in August, but will not surpass hospital bed capacity. The model from Stanford shows the peak is currently happening.
“The new surge figures are driven by many unknowns and are based on our behavior — how well we continue to abide by the public health orders and social distancing expectations,” said Stanislaus County spokeswoman Amy Vickery.
In anticipation of a need for additional hospital resources for COVID-19 patients, Stanislaus County is tracking what is currently in use and available for new patients. As of April 16, out of 1,209 hospital beds, 40 percent are currently in use and 60 percent are available. Out of 121 ICU beds, 60 percent are currently in use and 40 percent are available. Out of 208 ventilators, 23 percent are in use and 77 percent are available. Stanislaus County is coordinating with local hospitals to monitor the availability of these resources daily.