• Last modified 885 days ago (Dec. 29, 2020)


COVID ebbs with 22 new cases, but holiday surge expected

Staff writer

Despite reporting only 34 new cases of COVID-19 in the seven days that ended Monday, health officials are bracing for what they expect will be a surge in cases after Christmas.

The newest cases — 22 on Monday and 12 last Wednesday — add up to the lowest seven-day total since immediately after Thanksgiving, but that probably doesn't indicate a lessening in spread of coronavirus illness.

“A lot of people, if they have it, they don't want to get tested around a holiday so they can still be with family and friends,” county health administrator Diedre Serene said.

The county recorded rising case totals after both Halloween and Thanksgiving, hitting a peak of 72 new cases in one seven-day period after Thanksgiving and an all-time peak of 88 new cases in one seven-day period after Halloween. Before Halloween, seven-day totals rarely exceeded 20.

The latest cases bring to 658 the total number of COVID-19 cases reported in the county.

Even though the increase in cases has slacked off to only 2.9 new cases per 1,000 residents in the past week, that's still nearly three times the federal standard for the county being declared a “red zone,” prompting some other communities to require travelers to quarantine after visiting here.

A total of 41 county residents, down from 75 last Wednesday, continued to be in isolation, receiving treatment, or experiencing symptoms of the disease as of Monday. Eight of them, up two from last Wednesday, are hospitalized.

The county continues to list only five deaths from COVID-19 even though officials unofficially are aware of other deaths. According to Serene, deaths are recorded only after death certificates reach the state — a process that she says may take four to five weeks.

No new update on COVID totals is expected until Wednesday.

Last modified Dec. 29, 2020