Kings County Weekly COVID-19 Update for February 1st, 2022
Kings has continued to see a rise in cases over the past three weeks. January 24th through the 30th, there was a total of 3,171 community cases. This is an average of 453 cases a day, reaching our highest daily case count to date, 886 cases on Sunday, January 30th. This count does not include at-home COVID tests not reported to Public Health. As a reminder, the public can report at-home tests via https://my.primary.health/l/kingscounty (link also located on the KCDPH website, here). COVID-19 case numbers do not yet show signs of decreasing despite the promising decline now being seen in other parts of California where the surge began earlier than it did here in Kings.
Again this week, the highest increase in percentage of cases has been among the 0-11 age group, with at least a 3% increase in the past two weeks. This number is expected to further increase as test results from the last 7 days continue to come in. The 65 and older population appears to be at the start of a slight increase as well.
The Health Department continues to issue isolation and quarantine orders through kcdph.com/isolation-quarantine. Online orders allow all positive cases in Kings County to have guidance readily available from the time they find out they’re positive. This is particularly important in the time of rapidly spreading Omicron, which is currently the dominant variant in Kings, making up 68% of the specimens sequenced so far this month.
For availability of COVID-19 treatments, including monoclonal antibody treatments, visit the Resources page here. Availability of treatments effective against Omicron, used only for high-risk individuals, is extremely limited. Monoclonal antibody treatment is not a replacement for vaccination and will only be considered when medically appropriate. Hospitalizations of COVID-positive patients in Kings County continue to rise, causing more strain on our healthcare system, including our local hospital. Unvaccinated patients continue to make up the majority of hospitalized patients - 83% since the start of the current surge.
Last week, Public Health collected 4,857 COVID tests; that is a slight decrease from the week prior though demand continues to be significant. Rapid antigen iHealth at-home kits continue to be distributed to everyone who receives a PCR test at our Hanford site or our mobile testing unit, and in our Corcoran clinic on Sundays (find the schedule here). A limited supply of rapid antigen tests is also available to businesses reporting a COVID outbreak through the SPOT portal. Tests will be distributed while supplies last, and the public are encouraged to stay home and isolate if they test positive, even while waiting for the confirmatory PCR result.
Testing turn-around times have shown signs of improvement in the past week, with most results typically returned in 2-3 days, though this can change at any time, depending on the volume of tests that the State lab is seeing each day.
Last week January 24th – 30th, public health administered just over 500 vaccines; the second week in a row with a significant drop in demand from weeks prior. As of today, Kings has 9,648 partially vaccinated residents and 65,788 fully vaccinated residents, which is 50% of the eligible population, not including the prison inmates. The current break through rate stands at 8%, though many breakthrough cases are mild; if you get COVID as a fully vaccinated individual you are significantly less likely to end up with severe disease, and with a booster that risk drops even further. 36% of our fully vaccinated population in Kings County has received a booster dose.
*Please note the 50% figure reported the week prior was an error, identified post-publication.
Yesterday, January 31st, the FDA fully approved the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for ages 18+. The approved vaccine will be marketed as Spikevax. As a reminder, the Pfizer vaccine is fully approved for ages 16+ with emergency use authorization for ages 5-15.
We know that even with the threat of new variants in the horizon, we have the tools to help our community through these surges. Vaccine and booster doses reduce the impact of the virus and prevent hospitalizations. Keeping distance from others and using a surgical or KN95 mask when in public protects you and people around you, especially those with weakened immune systems and those that are unable to receive the vaccine. Reaching out to Kings Cares for support, staying home when sick, and testing often will help all of us move forward stronger and more prepared.