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Home / Health / COVID deaths in California double; rural areas, suburbs suffer

COVID deaths in California double; rural areas, suburbs suffer



The second rise of the coronavirus in California has resulted in a nearly doubling of weekly deaths since the spring – with nearly 1,000 deaths in the last week alone – and radically shifted the geography of the outbreak, a Times data analysis revealed.

Suburban and agricultural areas that were relatively spared during the first outbreak of the virus in California have now been destroyed. And urban areas such as Los Angeles County and San Francisco Bay Area are reporting death rates just as high, if not higher, than in the spring.

The Central Valley has become home to one of the hottest coronavirus hotspots in the country.

In the eight southern counties of the Central Valley, weekly COVID-1

9 deaths have jumped from about 20 a week in April to nearly 200 a week in the past two weeks, a Times analysis found. Residents of the San Joaquin Valley account for 20% of recent deaths nationwide, even though they make up about 10% of the state’s population.

For the seven-day period that ended Monday, 969 deaths were reported across California, the highest number of weekly deaths since the pandemic began. During the rise of the virus in the spring, the highest number of weekly deaths was during the week of April 21, when 553 deaths were reported.

In the southern part of the state, peripheral regions are also experiencing an increase in deaths. The San Bernardino County recorded 128 coronavirus deaths in the seven-day period that ended Monday, nearly quadrupling the number of 34 deaths a week earlier. Riverside County’s 83rd weekly death toll last week was nearly double what it was in April.

Orange County recorded 73 deaths last week; for the week of April 21, County County recorded six deaths. Ventura County recorded 16 deaths last week; that county reported less than five deaths a week in April.

But, in general, perhaps the biggest cause for concern is the Central Valley.

The aggravation of deaths comes as the coronavirus has spread rapidly among essential low-wage workers in jobs such as agriculture and food processing. Major outbreaks have been reported at a Foster Farms poultry processing plant in Merced County; Central Valley Meat Co., a meat packing facility in Kings County; and Ruiz Foods, a frozen food packer in Tulare County.

It is clear why the San Joaquin Valley is being negatively impacted, said Edward Flores, professor of sociology with the UC Merced Community and Job Center: the region has an extraordinary number of low-income, front-line workers. , people with unsafe job security in a region known for violating workplace safety rules.

“All of these issues … existed before the COVID pandemic. And like any other inequality, it’s just bigger now,” Flores said. “It was there before – people were dying at work; people were losing limbs. … Now that there is a pandemic, those agencies will surely be outgrown.”

An analysis from the job center found that 34% of employees in the San Joaquin Valley work in front jobs, where there is an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 because employees cannot work from home. More than 40% of the workers in Madera County are essential workers – making it the county with the third highest proportion of these workers of any county nationwide.

In contrast, about 18% to 22% of employees in LA, Orange, and San Diego counties and the Bay Area work in the front line of essential jobs, such as in agriculture, mining, food production, food retail, transportation, storage and health care.

Part of the problem, Flores said, is that many of the existing COVID-19 health policies “do little for low-wage workers who … cannot afford to take time off work without risking starvation or layoffs”.

Although efforts have been made across the country to give more paid days off to workers in the food industry, Flores says he wonders how much workers – especially those in the country illegally – know about those rights and what happens if they rest when trying to follow the rules.

“Employers have a role to play in this, and they are simply accepting their responsibilities in the name of trying to make a quick profit,” Flores said, quoting employers who have threatened workers that they will lose their jobs if they lose. job. “As long as we want food on our table, there will be people working in some close proximity to each other – not just Skyping or Zooming out of the house – and our policies need to address that.”

Flores said two key things need to be done: ensuring workers are paid if they become infected or need time off to care for a loved one, and improving and enforcing health and safety standards in the workplace.

Recent explosions have also been fueled by some of the most catastrophic prisoner transfers in California history.

State officials inadvertently transferred infected prisoners from the California Men’s Institution in Chino and opened new cases at Corcoran State Prison in Kings County and caused a particularly devastating explosion at San Quentin State Prison in Marin County. The spread of San Quentin has resulted in the deaths of 25 inmates and one guard to date, and has filled hospital beds throughout the Bay Area.

Following the initial transfer, San Quentin-infected prisoners were sent to a prison in Lassen County, sparking outbreaks in rural northeastern California.

An outbreak at Avenal State Prison has been blamed for infecting staff living across the Central Valley, exacerbating disease transmission in Fresno and Kings counties.

Health experts said some states moved too quickly to reopen society after the first wave of coronavirus cases. Gov. Gavin Newsom, under pressure to lift months-long home-stay restrictions in May that had shut down a large number of the economy, began allowing counties to reopen businesses before meeting its pre-established criteria for reopening safely .

Without naming specific states, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert, told a Brown University School of Public Health forum last week that some leaders “passed some of the recommended checkpoints” for a safer reopening and stay loose- home orders without waiting for new cases to fall. Spreads began to spread in the workplace and viruses were transmitted to barbecues, parties and bars.

The regions of California hit hardest in the earliest stage of the pandemic – the Bay Area and LA County – have seen weekly deaths return to – or exceed – spring levels.

LA County’s weekly death toll in the spring reached 329 in late April, then dropped to 194 in late June before climbing to 327 two weeks ago and 296 last week.

The Gulf area has seen a death almost worse than its spring levels. The region recorded as many as 67 deaths in a single week in April; two weeks ago, the Gulf Zone recorded 81 deaths. Last week there were 72 victims.

The San Diego County recorded its two worst numbers of deaths per week in mid-July, averaging 56 weekly deaths in two weeks – more than double its April average. In the last two weeks, the weekly casualties are on average about 31 per week.

Other counties with a sharp rise in recent COVID-19 deaths include Sacramento, Santa Barbara and Sonoma.

Still, officials are expressing a note of optimism: Weekly cases and hospitalizations seem to have reached their second peak, even when factorizing into a vision in the state reporting system for new cases being resolved over the weekend.

Last week, there were an average of 5,816 people in hospitals each day with confirmed coronavirus infections nationwide, for the second week in a row there was a drop. The number reached its highest point three weeks ago, when an average of 6,941 people were hospitalized each day over a seven-day period.

Although the nationwide average is declining, not all regions have seen a decline in hospitals. The seven-county Sacramento area has registered 11 weeks of hospital admissions.

Amid the latest rise, elected officials have said they intend to learn from the past in considering future reopening plans.

“We can all see, in retrospect, that some things unfolded so quickly, that we do not adhere to the do-something-and-wait-three-week methodology, and see the effect,” the Los Angeles Mayor said. Eric Garcetti said on July 22nd. “It became a domino effect with … the unreasonable waking of everyone who thinks we can rush back to normal.”

Times staff writers Hailey Branson-Potts, Kim Christensen, Taryn Luna, Luke Money, James Rainey, Jake Sheridan and Richard Winton contributed to this report.




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