The first day of 2022 was marked by Napa County’s latest death caused by the coronavirus, county officials have announced.
The latest local casualty of the two-year-long pandemic was an unvaccinated Calistoga man in his 90s, who died on New Year’s Day after contracting COVID-19, county spokesperson Leah Greenbaum said Thursday.
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The patient was the 108th person to succumb to the virus in Napa County, and the 103rd resident, according to the county’s COVID-19 informational website. Napa County’s previous virus-related death, of an unvaccinated St. Helena man older than 85, occurred Dec. 15.
Also Thursday, the county announced another one-day jump in the number of positive tests, with 226 more people confirmed to have contracted the virus. That figure compares with the 239 positives announced Wednesday and the 259 cases Napa County reported during the New Year’s Day weekend.
Eighteen people were hospitalized in the county due to COVID-19 as of Thursday – one less than the previous day, but up from nine a week earlier – and 30% of local intensive-care unit beds were available.
Test kits will be given to NVUSD students Thursday to Saturday at drive-up stations outside the Napa and American Canyon high schools.
California’s confirmed cases have shot up nearly 500% in the last two weeks and hospitalizations have doubled since Christmas to more than 8,000. State models forecast hospitalizations could top 20,000 by early next month, a level nearly as high as last January, when California experienced its deadliest surge.
California had the lowest per-capita case rate in the U.S. in September, but like the rest of the country it’s now experiencing a dramatic rise from the newer and more contagious Omicron variant. It now ranks 29th in new cases per capita over the past two weeks.
Public health officials across the state have advised residents to avoid visiting emergency rooms for COVID-19 tests or treatment that could be handled by a family doctor, telemedicine or at urgent care clinics.
With reports from Register reporter Howard Yune and The Associated Press.
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