Health

San Benito County addresses recent surge of COVID-19 cases as the holidays approach

Increase of 113 new cases reported between Nov. 15-21.

Information provided by county of San Benito.

The past few weeks have seen an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases in San Benito County. According to a recent release, there has been an increase of 113 new cases reported in the last week (Nov. 15-21).

As of Nov. 24, 1,767 people in San Benito County have tested positive since February, 124 are active patients, 1,628 have recovered and 16 have died; the county’s current positivity rate is 6.5%.

The San Benito County Department of Public Health tracks COVID-19 transmission types through contact tracing. A large majority of these cases are still being investigated, therefore their likely source of transmission has not been verified yet.

Here is a breakdown regarding the surge in cases that have been traced, thus far:

  • 6% are community transmission—Community transmission means the source of the infection is unknown. The case has likely not indicated knowing anyone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or being in close contact with anyone who is sick.  Community transmission risk occurs when anyone leaves their household for any reason, e.g. grocery shopping, banks, laundromats, dining, mechanic work, etc.
  • 2% are travel-related transmission—Travel-related transmission occurs when a person travels outside of the local region to an area with widespread community transmission.
  • 27% are contact transmission

Of these:

  • 42% are household contacts—Defined as people living in the same household. It takes only one person to infect an entire household.
  • 39% are family/friend contacts outside of the household—Gatherings and/or time spent with people that do not live in the same home. Some positive cases have been traced to baby showers, weddings, football parties, birthday parties, dinner with family or friends outside the household.
  • 19% are work contacts—Defined as being exposed to an infected person at their workplace.

This emphasizes the importance of:

  • Wearing a face covering, social distancing and frequent hand washing as effective precautions.
  • Avoiding gatherings or spending time with people not in your household in order to prevent risk of exposure. Out-of-household contact transmission leads to large increases in cases and can be the most avoidable type of transmission.

“Unfortunately, the entire country is experiencing the worst spread of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, with a death in the US occurring every minute, said David Ghilarducci, interim public health officer for San Benito County. “While California and San Benito County have been doing relatively well, it appears that these large numbers of cases are making their way to us. With travel and gatherings associated with the holidays there is every indication that this situation will become far worse by Christmas.”

BenitoLink Staff