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Public health officials report 29th virus death

Confirmed cases now at 3,673 in San Benito County

The number of Covid-19 cases are rising throughout San Benito County.

San Benito County Public Health officials are reporting that the county set another record of new Covid-19 cases in a single day, which included another death in their latest newsletter.

As of Dec. 31, the county reported a 29th death of the novel coronavirus in San Benito County. It’s the first death reported since Dec. 28 and the 13th fatality reported this month.

The county’s Covid-19 dashboard shows that there are 3,673 confirmed cases and currently 581 active cases, including a record of 135 new cases recorded in a day as of Thursday, Dec. 31. It also shows that 14 people are hospitalized within the county, with four of those in the intensive care unit.  

As of Dec. 30, Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital has 31 patients admitted–five of these are maternity patients and 20 are Covid-19 positive, according to Public Information Officer Frankie Gallagher. The intensive care unit remains full with four patients, and three of the four are Covid-19 positive.  

Gallagher said currently there are four patients on ventilators, three in the ICU and one in the ER. 

“Through our collaboration with the San Benito County Office of Emergency Services, the hospital was able to receive four new nurses today–two for ICU and two for ER,” she said.

Confirmed cases include patients who have since recovered and those who are deceased. There’s been 25,513 tested for the novel coronavirus locally. Of these, 21,874 have tested negative and 3,063 patients have recovered.

The data from the Public Health Services’ latest community newsletter shows that of the 3,673 positive cases of Covid-19, 117 patients are in the 0-4 age group; 924 are in the 5-24 age group; 1,630 are in the 25-49; 709 patients are in the 50-64 age group; and 293 are age 64 or older.

The newsletter also shows that San Benito County remains in the most restricted purple “widespread” risk level as of Dec. 31. The county, according to state data, had a case rate of 87 daily new cases per 100,000 residents and a test positivity rate of 16.7 percent for the week of Dec. 13-19. 

These numbers are beyond the “widespread” risk level factors for each county, which is more than seven daily new cases per 100,000 residents, and a positivity rate of more than 8 percent. 

The statewide data shows 93.1 daily new cases per 100,000 residents and a test positivity rate of 14.5 percent for the week of Dec. 13-19.

At a minimum, counties must remain in a tier for at least three weeks before moving forward from the purple “widespread” tier to the red “substantial” tier after meeting the criteria of the less restrictive level for 14 consecutive days. 

The limits for the “substantial” tier are no more than 4 to 7 daily new cases per 100,000 residents, and a positivity rate between 5-8 percent.