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COVID cases drop in Santa Cruz County – Santa Cruz Sentinel


SANTA CRUZ — Individuals who have been tracking the increasing total known cases, active known cases and more in the Santa Cruz County COVID-19 data dashboard may have been confused when they noticed fewer cases in the dashboard than its last update.

Approximately 116 cases were missing from the 15,363 reported in the dashboard on March 30. Later in the week, the county announced in an email that updates to the dashboard would pause for “data cleanup,” which is exactly why the case count went down, according to county spokesman Jason Hoppin.

“There were cases considered probable that never came through,” Hoppin said of most of the more than100 cases taken off the dashboard. “It goes back all the way to the start of the pandemic. This was the first chance we had to go back through our numbers and clean them up, so there was a net decline.”

Hoppin said that the state’s numbers listed on the California Department of Public Health’s website have generally been lower than the county’s totals, so this cleanup brings the local health jurisdiction more in line with the state.

“There’s not one simple reason as to why (it happened),” Hoppin said. “It’s just an accumulation of things over the last year that got cleaned up when we pressed pause for a few days.”

The county’s cleaners, a team of data-driven epidemiologists, are responsible for producing the numbers or revising them as needed. The team also tracks outbreaks, which is at an all-time low for the county since the health crisis began.

“This morning we heard we only have one outbreak currently under investigation,” the spokesman said. “It hasn’t been that low since… well, we can’t even remember.”

The good news extended beyond the county and to the state and national levels too, Hoppin added. He referenced a tweet from Gov. Gavin Newsom Monday morning informing constituents that California has the lowest testing positivity rate in the country at the moment. Nate Silver, the well-known data journalist that uses polls and statistics to track subject matter ranging from elections to sports, reported that the country reported the lowest number of deaths Sunday that it had since this time last year.

No new deaths have been reported in more than a week, but Hoppin says a few may be lingering and be reported in the dashboard in the coming days. The total number of hospital patients with positive COVID-19 tests increased last week, but the number in the ICU remains linear. The number of open beds in Santa Cruz County ICUs has greatly improved in the last month, staying at four open beds or higher.

Local health officials such as Santa Cruz County Deputy Health Officer Dr. David Ghilarducci have credited the slowing of hospitalizations and deaths to the vaccine rollout. As of Monday afternoon, 168,253 shots had been put in arms of county residents, the CDPH showed. Last week those aged 50 to 64 became eligible; next week, all those 16 and older will be prioritized.

Though supply is still limited, the county is encouraging those who aren’t vaccinated to enroll in MyTurn at myturn.ca.gov and check the jurisdiction’s vaccine page at https://bit.ly/3rS4R7p.

By the numbers

Total cases: 15,247

Active cases: 175

Recoveries: 14,872

Deaths: 200

Current ICU hospitalizations: 2

Current hospitalizations: 7

Open ICU beds: 9

Negative tests: 125,008





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