COVID-19 cases start to dip in Fresno County, positivity rate remains high

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Just as COVID-19 patients continue to bombard local hospitals, officials say they are beginning to get a better handle on the cases they're seeing.

"I think the analogy I'm going to use is they are very busy but it feels as though somebody turned down the pressure cooker," says Fresno County EMS Director Dan Lynch.

Fresno County has seen a slight decrease in new COVID cases compared to last month but according to public health officials, the drop has not come quick enough as the region remains a hotbed for hospitalizations

Also, the county's positivity rate remains high at just under 8%

"A better positivity rate where we would like to see the community at is really below 5%," says Fresno County Health Division Manager Joe Prado. "Seeing a positivity rate below 5%, you're really getting it under wraps."

While cases are once again beginning to dip, the number of deaths related to COVID in Fresno County is trending up.

But health experts say there is a logical reason for this

"Pretty much once you're in the surge, 15 or 30 days later is when you start seeing the death count start to increase," Prado said. "So when you look at the death chart, you'll see the date of the death, not necessarily when it was finally reported and tabulated."

This year's holiday guidance is less restrictive than last year when vaccines were not yet available.

Recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says trick or treating can be done safely if kids stay outdoors and in small groups.

When it comes to big family gatherings, the CDC suggests additional precautions such as testing in advance or avoiding crowded indoor spaces.

"The best way to protect your family and that's the young, the elderly and everyone around is to go out and get vaccinated," Prado said. "The more people you have at your gathering that are vaccinated, you're really limiting the potential of any type of COVID spread within that gathering."

Public Health officials also say they're seeing less outbreaks at schools within Fresno County.
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