COVID-19 'silent surge' hitting Fresno County

Current data show we're hitting the same case and hospitalizations numbers we saw during the Delta surge last summer.

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ByNico Payne via KFSN logo
Friday, July 22, 2022
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As COVID-19 case numbers hit previous highs, local health experts say they have new treatments and vaccines to battle the virus.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno County has reported more than 2,000 new COVID-19 cases since last week.

"Our percent positivity is 20% and that's just the official case count," says interim health officer Dr. Rais Vohra.

Current data show we're hitting the same case and hospitalizations numbers we saw before the Omicron surge, and during the Delta surge last summer, in what some are calling a 'silent surge'.

When it comes to testing, officials say while home kits are helpful - they're affecting positivity rates as there's no official way to track those results. This time around, treatments are playing a significant role.

"We've actually changed treatments from when Omicron came out to what we are doing now, where the majority of patients are candidates for oral antivirals," says Dr. Kenny Banh with UCSF Fresno.

One of the most common antiviral treatments being prescribed - Paxlovid.

"We do sometimes have a struggle in terms of maybe some providers out there that feel uncomfortable to prescribe it," says Tulare County public health director Karen Elliott.

Adds Banh:

"If you have risk factors, you have underlying lung disease, you got other diabetes, hypertension, heart disease. These are all reasons you should be actually getting Paxlovid, it has to be done in the first five days of treatment."

And on Tuesday, the CDC voted unanimously to recommend use of Novavax.

"This is a fourth type of vaccine with different technology that has been used many different times, so this is basically a tried and true technology," says Vohra.

And when it comes to mitigating the spread, the top recommendation is still to use a face covering after getting vaccinated and boosted.

"Getting a booster is the right thing to do, no matter which product it is, and if you're over 50, getting a second booster is actually something that's also approved," says Vohra.