A man in his 70s whose death from COVID-19 was announced on Monday was actually not vaccinated when he died, the Tuolumne County Public Health Department clarified on Thursday after initially reporting he had gotten the shot.
The man was the county’s 106th death from COVID-19. No other information about when and where he died was disclosed.
“Upon investigation, it has been confirmed that the individual whose death was reported on October 11th was not vaccinated,” the county Public Health Department stated in an update on Thursday.
When asked Thursday about the mix-up, county Public Health Director Michelle Jachetta said the department’s team conducts ongoing investigation and data review and confirmed he was not vaccinated based on information received after Monday’s report.
A 107th death was announced Wednesday as another unvaccinated man in his 70s. Only two of the county’s total confirmed coronavirus deaths were people who were fully vaccinated when they died.
Deaths of unvaccinated individuals in the county over the past two-plus months have included people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. The two people who were confirmed to be fully vaccinated when they died were in their 80s and 90s.
As of Thursday evening, Calaveras County had counted 81 COVID-19 deaths since early last year. However, the public health department there does not disclose vaccination status of new cases or deaths.
There were also 18 new cases of COVID-19 in Tuolumne County and 15 in Calaveras County. Four of Tuolumne County’s new cases were vaccinated individuals.
New cases in Tuolumne County on Thursday were identified as two girls under age 12; two girls and one boy between 12 and 17; four women in their 30s; two men in their 40s; a woman in her 50s; three women in their 60s; a woman in her 70s; and two women in their 80s.
There were 179 active cases, including nine individuals who were hospitalized with COVID-19, in Tuolumne County on Thursday. There were 37 active cases with one COVID-positive individual hospitalized in Calaveras County.
Tuolumne County’s running average of cases for the past two weeks decreased to 33.3 per 100,000 residents on Thursday, down from 35.5 on Tuesday and 35.8 on Monday.
Vaccination data compiled by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed 58.7% of Tuolumne County’s population fully vaccinated as of Tuesday afternoon, and 61% of Calaveras County’s population fully vaccinated.
The largest testing site in Tuolumne County, at Mother Lode Fairgrounds in Sonora, is supposed to be open seven days a week. The testing site is run by Logistics Health Incorporated, a subsidiary of OptumServe, which is a federal health services contractor being paid by the state of California.
Testing appointments can be scheduled online at www.lhi.care/covidtesting or by calling (888) 634-1123. Testing is also available through Adventist Health Rapid Care and the hospital emergency department if you are experiencing symptoms.
“Thank you for continuing to take positive actions to protect ourselves and those around us from illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19,” Tuolumne County Public Health said Tuesday. “Vaccination is the most important step we can take to reduce the spread of disease, and reduce the impact to our healthcare system.”
Preventive actions like wearing a mask in public, keeping your distance, avoiding crowds, washing hands, cleaning surfaces, and staying home when sick will help slow the spread of COVID-19, Tuolumne County Public Health emphasized.
Booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine have been approved for certain populations, primarily those who are age 65 and older and those at higher risk. Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for booster shots for now. They are intended only for those who completed their Pfizer vaccination series at least six months earlier, Tuolumne County Public Health said in September.
Local health authorities are sharing federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for the Pfizer-BioNTech booster shots:
• People 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series.
• People ages 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series.
• People ages 18 to 49 with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.
• People ages 18 to 64 who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.
The county Public Health Department says upcoming clinics and appointments can be accessed at MyTurn: https://myturn.ca.gov/ or by calling (833) 422-4255. Some pharmacies and healthcare providers are also providing vaccinations.
“Being fully vaccinated lowers your risk of severe symptoms, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19,” Calaveras Public Health said in September. “People should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID. It has not yet been shown how long you are protected from getting COVID again after you recover from COVID. Vaccination helps protect you even if you’ve already had COVID.”
A Calaveras Public Health mobile vaccination van is now offering free COVID-19 testing. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Register to reduce wait times at https://bit.ly/3wpNEUU online. People who do not have internet access can register at the site.
Anyone 12 and older is eligible for the COVID vaccine. Individuals may register for notification of upcoming clinics and schedule appointments on MyTurn at https://myturn.ca.gov/ or by calling (833) 422-4255. For information on the various avenues to obtain a vaccination in Tuolumne County, visit www.tuolumnecounty.ca.gov/1317/COVID-Vaccine online.
When you should get tested: Five days after travel or close contact with others outside your household; as soon as possible if experiencing symptoms; and/or every 14 to 28 days if regularly working with the public.
Testing is available from:
• Local health care providers;
• Adventist Health Sonora, call first: (209) 536-5166;
• Mother Lode Fairgrounds, 220 Southgate Drive, Sonora — 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. Appointments are recommended and can be scheduled at www.lhi.care/covidtesting or by calling (888) 634-1123.
• Twain Harte Pharmacy: call (209) 586-3225 for information and appointments.
• Groveland Pharmacy: call (209) 962-5211 for information and appointments.