A chart details a rise in Santa Cruz County COVID hospitalizations
(Via Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency)
Health & Wellness

COVID back on the rise in Santa Cruz County as hospitalizations and infections trend upward

After trending downward since a peak late last year, COVID infections and hospitalizations are back on the rise in Santa Cruz County and statewide, according to data from the county, the state’s department of public health and the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For the first time since October through December 2022, the rate of coronavirus transmission in Santa Cruz County has exceeded 1 for consecutive months, steadily increasing since June. A rate of transmission greater than 1 means that each COVID infection is spreading to more than one person.

A chart details a rise in Santa Cruz County COVID cases
(Via Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency)

“When [the rate of transmission] is more than 1 … the disease will be transmitted between more and more people and the spread of the disease is growing,” the county’s COVID-19 dashboard says. “If [the rate of transmission] stays greater than 1, it can lead to many challenges, including hospitals not being able to care for everyone who gets sick.”

Although life with COVID has been a series of infection peaks and valleys, Dr. Lisa Hernandez, Santa Cruz County’s Health Officer, called the latest rise especially concerning because of recent impacts in nursing homes. She said four of the county’s seven skilled-nursing facilities have had infection outbreaks, defined as three or more infections at once.

Hospitalizations have similarly been trending upward for the first time since the end of last year. The county saw a brief spike in April. The most recent state data showed 10 people were hospitalized for COVID in Santa Cruz County as of Aug. 12.

Lindsay Leszczynski, a spokesperson for Dignity Health, which runs Dominican Hospital, says the hospital has seen “an uptick in COVID, but most cases are mild.”

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