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Santa Clara County Moves To Less Restrictive ‘Orange’ Tier

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CA — Santa Clara County advanced to a less-restrictive tier of the state’s coronavirus pandemic reopening system Tuesday, enabling both counties to expand the maximum capacity of activities like indoor dining and open bars outside.

Santa Clara was among two Bay Area counties to receive state approval to lift some restrictions Tuesday. Alameda is the other.

The two counties moved from Tier 2, the red tier, to Tier 3, the orange tier, by reducing their rate of new cases per 100,000 residents per day below four.

They join San Francisco as the only Bay Area counties in Tier 3.

Santa Clara and Alameda counties also had to reduce their respective test positivity rates under 5 percent and their health equity score, which the state introduced last week, under 5.2 percent.

Santa Clara County Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody encouraged residents to continue the efforts they’ve taken in recent weeks to reduce the virus’ local spread.

“We ask that everyone continue their efforts to prevent COVID-19 from spreading in our county,” Cody said.

“Everyone must take responsibility for preventing spread so that we don’t move back to more restrictive tiers under the State’s structure.”

Santa Clara County had been in Tier 2 since Sept. 8, allowing the county to resume indoor operations at businesses like gyms, shopping malls, museums, restaurants, zoos and aquariums at limited capacities.

Alameda County had been in the red tier since Sept. 22 and had to wait a minimum of three weeks to move into a less restrictive tier, regardless of whether it met the thresholds for the orange tier for two consecutive weeks before then.

“We’ve chosen an approach that we describe as slow and stringent,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s Health and Human Services secretary.

“We wait for the data to come in, we try to understand how changes in the levels of mixing that’s allowable in communities actually translates into transmission before we do more,” Ghaly said.

In many cases, both counties will be able to expand the maximum capacity of indoor businesses from 25 percent to 50 percent or 200 people, whichever is fewer.

Gyms, fitness centers and hotels will also be allowed to reopen indoor pools, while gyms themselves can increase their capacity from 10 percent to 25 percent of their maximum occupancy.

Moving into the orange tier also allows multiple sectors like offices, cardrooms, bowling alleys, climbing walls and gyms, wineries and bars, breweries and distilleries at which food is not served to resume operating inside with caps on capacity.

Alameda County Interim Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss echoed Cody’s warning that local progress in fighting the coronavirus can be easily undone.

“Especially with flu season coming, if we see spikes in COVID-19 cases and a rise in hospitalizations, we will take action to limit the spread and protect public health including resuming restrictions if needed,” Moss said in a statement.

Santa Clara and Alameda counties will now need to remain in the orange

Tuesday, Oct. 13, coronavirus data by Michigan county: Southwest and south-central Michigan almost solid orange

Coronavirus transmission rates are heading into worrisome territory in large swaths of Michigan, including most of the state’s urban counties outside of metro Detroit/Ann Arbor.

That includes metro Grand Rapids and Lansing, as well as the Flint, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Jackson and Benton Harbor/St. Joseph areas. Twenty-two counties in the Lower Peninsula are now coded orange, based on a metric developed by the Harvard Global Health Initiative to assess coronavirus risk levels. That compares to 10 counties in the Lower Peninsula two weeks ago.

Orange signifies heightened concern, according to the Harvard Institute, which looks at the seven-day average of new cases per 100,000 residents. The newest assessment is based on data for Oct. 6-12.

Four counties went from yellow to orange as a result of Monday’s numbers. Those counties: Allegan, Van Buren, Lenawee and Clinton.

Already in the orange zone: Kent, Ottawa, Genesee, Ingham, Kalamazoo, Calhoun, Jackson, Eaton, Ionia, Berrien, Isabella, Clare, Barry, Mecosta, Newaygo, Gratiot, Cass and St. Joseph.

Meanwhile, coronavirus continues to rage in the Upper Peninsula, where 14 of the 15 counties in the Upper Peninsula are red or orange

The code red counties — with dangerously high level of the virus — are Iron, Houghton, Delta, Dickinson, Menominee, Mackinac and Keweenaw. The orange counties are Marquette, Gogebic, Ontonagon, Schoolcraft, Luce, Alger and Baraga.

The only U.P. county not on those lists are Chippewa, which includes Sault Ste. Marie.

At the other of the spectrum, two Michigan counties — Alcona and Wexford — are in the green zone as of Tuesday morning, based on the Harvard Institute metric. Those counties have minimal transmission of coronavirus right now.

The map below is shaded by the average number of new cases per day per 100,000 residents. The arrows indicate whether the total number of cases between Oct. 6-12 has gone up or down compared to the previous seven days (Sept. 29-Oct 5).

Readers can put their cursor over a county to see the underlying data. If you can’t see the map, click here.

Latest on coronavirus testing

Thirteen Michigan counties have a positive rate of at least 5% in coronavirus tests reported in the last seven days ending Oct. 11. The state is averaging almost 35,000 tests a day, and the state’s seven-day average positivity rate is 3.7%.

Dickinson County had the highest seven-day average at 19.2%, followed by Mackinac (12.8%), Luce (9.9%), Houghton (9%), Isabella (7.5%), Kalamazoo (7.4%), Delta (7.3%), Barry (6.6%), Genesee (5.9%), Macomb (5.6%), Iosco (5.4%), Calhoun (5.4%) and Mecosta (5.2%).

Note: The number of positive tests does not match confirmed cases because a single patient may be tested multiple times.

The federal Centers for Disease Control says schools are safe to open if fewer than 5% of coronavirus tests over the past week are positive.

The map below shows the seven-day average testing rate by county. Once again, readers can put their cursor over a county to see the underlying data. If you can’t see the map, click here.

Below are online databases that

Confirmed Coronavirus Case Total In Baltimore County At 19,043

BALTIMORE COUNTY, MD — As of Monday, Baltimore County has a total of 19,043 positive new coronavirus cases, according to the Baltimore County Health Department, and 622 deaths. The state has 116,646 confirmed cases and 3,696 deaths total, reports the Maryland Department of Health. More than 14,884 people have been hospitalized.

The number of confirmed cases in Baltimore County nursing homes stands at 717. The number of death cases in Baltimore County nursing homes is at 104.

The following zip codes have the highest confirmed case counts in Baltimore County as of Oct. 12:

  • 21222 with 1,411 cases

  • 21234 with 1,364 cases

  • 21117 with 1,258 cases

  • 21228 with 1,297 cases

  • 21220 with 1,114 cases

The county health department has its own website created to monitor the situation, broken down by new cases per day and other data.

The CDC advises doing the following to stop the spread of the virus:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If this is not available, use hand sanitizer that is at least 60 percent alcohol.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

  • Keep 6 feet of space between people.

  • Stay home when you are sick.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

This article originally appeared on the Catonsville Patch

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California regulators launch review of long, deadly delays in L.A. County specialty care

Los Angeles, CA, August 24, 2019 - Majid Vatandoust, a 49-year old heating and air conditioning technician from Canoga Park, who went to LAC clinic Mid-Valley for a check-up in early 2014. He had unintentionally lost about 20 pounds and routine tests found he was anemic and had blood in his stool, all early indicators of potentially deadly colon cancer. His doctor put in a request via eConsult for a colonoscopy but was denied, his medical records show. The gastroenterologist who turned down the request without ever seeing Vatandoust said the test used to detect blood in Vatandoust's stool was "not valid for patients under 50 years old." Thousands of patients in L.A. County's public hospital system who endure long, sometimes deadly delays to see medical specialists, a Times investigation has found. Doctors, nurses and patients describe chronic waits that leave the sick with intolerable pain, worsening illnesses and a growing sense of hopelessness. According to a Times data analysis of more than 860,000 requests for specialty care at the L.A. County Department of Health Services, a sprawling safety-net system that serves more than 2 million, primarily the region's poorest and most vulnerable residents. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Majid Vatandoust died of colon cancer at age 52, three years after a request for a colonoscopy was denied by a specialist working for L.A. County despite tests that showed clear indicators of the disease. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

As current and former doctors in Los Angeles County’s public hospital system condemn delays in providing specialist care, California regulators have launched a review of the long, sometimes deadly waits faced by patients who need treatment from one of the nation’s largest public health systems.

The actions come in the wake of a Times investigation that found patients of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services face agonizing delays to see specialists after referrals from primary care providers, leaving many with intolerable pain, worsening illnesses and a growing sense of hopelessness. The Times report included several patients who died of the conditions they waited to have treated.

The California Department of Health Care Services will review whether any managed care plan that offers Medi-Cal — the government-subsidized program that covers low-income Californians and most county patients — violated its contract with the state to provide adequate access to care, an agency spokeswoman said.

“Any untimely death is a tragedy, and our hearts go out to the families suffering the loss of a loved one. The wait times outlined by The Times are unacceptable,” Michelle Baass, undersecretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, said in a statement. “Timely access to care is a fundamental patient right.”

The review is the second underway by the state. The California Department of Managed Health Care began an investigation of the county’s wait times this year in response to questions from The Times about delays in specialist appointments.

Baass is overseeing both inquiries after her boss, state Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, recused himself. Ghaly is married to the director of the Los Angeles County safety-net hospital system, Dr. Christina Ghaly.

The average wait to see a specialist in the L.A. County system was 89 days, according to a Times data analysis of more than 860,000 requests for specialty care at the county’s Department of Health Services, which serves more than 2 million people, primarily the region’s poorest and most vulnerable residents.

Even patients waiting to see doctors whose prompt care can mean the difference between life and death — neurologists, kidney specialists, cardiologists — endured delays that stretched on for months, according to the data, which consisted of nonemergency requests from primary care providers to specialists from 2016 through 2019.

Several doctors who now work for the county or recently left called for reform, including better communication between primary care providers and specialists as well as a dramatic increase in hiring of specialists.

Dr. Michael Hochman, a primary care physician and associate professor of clinical medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine, who has practiced at safety-net health systems on both coasts, said Los Angeles County’s is “the least effective system that I’ve worked at in my 14

L.A. County reports 971 new coronavirus cases, 3 deaths

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 11: A couple in face masks walk down Cesar E. Chavez Blvd on Saturday morning in Los Angeles. Life around Cesar E. Chavez Blvd. and Soto St. has slow down as California officials extended stay-at-home orders into May and residents entered Easter weekend with unprecedented limits on their movements. Most of the people are adhering to the orders by mayor to wear masks while out running errands. Los Angeles, CA. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
A couple walk down Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard near downtown Los Angeles. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County public health officials on Sunday reported 971 new coronavirus cases and three related deaths.

The number of new cases and deaths is usually lower on Sundays and Mondays because of laboratory reporting delays.

The county now has logged a total of 282,135 cases of the virus, and 6,771 people have died.

Officials continued to report encouraging signs of progress in the county’s fight against the virus.

There were 693 people with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in county hospitals as of Saturday, down from more than 2,200 at the peak of the crisis in mid-July.

L.A. County last week saw a slight uptick in the number of new coronavirus cases reported each day, on Wednesday reporting its highest daily count of infections since Aug. 22, but experts said it’s too early to say whether it represents the start of a larger surge in infections.

Even so, the percentage of tests that came back positive for the virus each day declined slightly over the course of the week, from a seven-day average of 3.2% Monday to 3% Sunday, officials said. The positivity rate, which helps officials determine whether more new cases are being identified because of increased transmission or because more people are being tested, has hovered around 3% for several weeks, officials said. In July, about 8% of tests were coming back positive.

The positivity rate is one of several metrics officials are keeping an eye on to gauge whether transmission of the virus is increasing and weigh whether more businesses should be allowed to reopen.

The state also recently created an equity metric that establishes specific positive case rate numbers that larger counties must meet in their poorer cities and neighborhoods.

L.A. County remains in the strictest tier of the state’s four-tier reopening system — Tier 1, or purple — because it continues to report more than 7 cases per 100,000 residents each day. That means that many nonessential businesses remain closed for indoor operations.

Officials have said they plan to proceed cautiously through the stages, directing business sectors to reopen slowly and in a staggered manner to avoid a surge in new infections that could threaten to overwhelm hospitals. Most recently, casino card rooms were permitted to resume outdoor operations Monday and indoor shopping malls were allowed to reopen at limited capacity Wednesday.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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Another L.A. County child diagnosed with rare COVID-related syndrome

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 04 , 2020 - L.A. County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer addresses a press conference held at the steps of Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration to declare a health emergency as the number of coronavirus cases increased to seven, with six new cases in Los Angeles County. None of the new cases are connected to "community spread," officials said. All individuals were exposed to COVID-19 through close contacts. The additional cases were confirmed Tuesday night. Officials said three of the new cases were travelers who had visited northern Italy, two were family members who had close contact with someone outside of the county who was infected, and one had a job that put them in contact with travelers. One person has been hospitalized, and the others are isolated at home. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County Department of Public Health director, speaks at a news conference earlier this year. (Irfan Khan/Irfan Khan/Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)

Another Los Angeles County child has been diagnosed with a rare, potentially deadly syndrome believed to be related to the coronavirus, according to the county Health Department, bringing the total number of children with the ailment in the region to 41.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said all of the children in the county diagnosed with multisystem inflammatory syndrome since the beginning of the pandemic had been hospitalized. The department said in a written statement Friday that 70% of the children with MIS-C were Latino, reflecting the high incidence of COVID-19 among Latinos overall.

Although none of the children reported to have the condition in Los Angeles County have died, nearly half have been sick enough to be admitted to the intensive care unit.

Children with the syndrome may have a fever and other symptoms including stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, bloodshot eyes and exhaustion. The syndrome can cause different parts of the body to become inflamed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“MIS-C is a new syndrome, and many questions remain about why some children and adolescents develop it after a COVID-19 illness or contact with someone with COVID-19 while others do not,” the CDC says.

As of Oct. 1, the CDC has reported 1,027 cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children; 20 of the children with the ailment have died. Cases have been confirmed in 44 states and Washington, D.C.

Arizona, California, New York, New Jersey, Florida and Georgia are among the 10 states reporting the highest number of cases.

Just days before the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced the county’s 41st MIS-C case, federal health officials reported that multisystem inflammatory syndrome began to show up in adults in the United States and the United Kingdom in June.

Friday’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report” from the federal agency cited 27 adult cases and acknowledged that the data were limited. The CDC called it “an emerging syndrome” in adults and said more research was needed.

Like the childhood version of the ailment, MIS-A seems to affect Latinos and Blacks more than other populations. And, while it can kill, it usually does not.

“All but one of the patients with MIS-A described in this report belonged to racial or ethnic minority groups,” the CDC reported. “The majority (24 of 27) of patients with MIS-A survived, similar to those with MIS-C, associated with receiving care in acute, often intensive, health care settings.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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L.A. County health officials report 1,285 new coronavirus cases and an additional 28 deaths

ARCADIA, CA - OCTOBER 07, 2020 - A sign tells customers to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as shoppers return to indoor shopping at the Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall in Arcadia on October 7, 2020. This is the first day customers were allowed to return to indoor shopping after Los Angeles County eased restrictions and have reopened the malls and the individual stores. Such stores have been closed for weeks, but reopened Wednesday at 25% capacity. Westfield Santa Anita has placed Covid-related signage with one-way traffic, 6 feet distancing when waiting to get into individual stores, hand sanitizing stations and mask are required before entering the mall. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
A sign tells customers to wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as people return to indoor shopping at the Westfield Santa Anita mall in Arcadia on Wednesday, the first day L.A. County malls were allowed to reopen at limited capacity. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Twenty-eight more people have died from COVID-19 across Los Angeles County and 1,285 new infections have been confirmed, officials said Saturday.

The numbers, reported by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, bring the countywide pandemic death toll to 6,768 people, with 281,165 confirmed cases.

In 72% of the new cases, those who tested positive were under 50 years old, the department said.

Of the 28 deaths, the department said, 22 people had underlying health conditions. One of the fatalities involved a person between 18 and 29 years old, while two people were between 30 and 49, seven were between 50 and 64, nine were between 65 and 79, and nine were over 80, the department said.

“Please remember that even young people can have serious illness if infected with this virus and have severe outcomes,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a news release. Ferrer recommend the use of face masks, social distancing, and avoiding non-essential activities.

The department said 93% of the fatalities involve people with underlying health problems. The LA County numbers do not include Pasadena, where the reported deaths are now 129, and Long Beach, where the number is 249.

The department urged bars and restaurants that might be airing sports not to allow customers to congregate around the televisions.

Experts say it is too soon to characterize the increase in cases in Los Angeles County as a surge, of the kind that accompanied rapid business reopenings over the summer. The state is now relying on a tiered reopening strategy, and in L.A. County, where businesses such as breweries and wineries have been allowed to reopen outdoors, the high case count has kept it at Tier 1.

Across the county, some 40,000 new cases of COVID-19 are reported every day. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious diseases expert, said last week that the pandemic could get worse in the winter and persist through much of next year. He warned that a vaccine won’t return the country to pre-Covid conditions, but predicted “some degree of normality” in the second half of 2021.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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Coronavirus Hospitalizations In Cook County Suburbs Up By 35%

COOK COUNTY, IL — New regional COVID-19 mitigations lifted on one area of Illinois this week and imposed on another, as rising coronavirus positivity rates in neighboring regions risk triggering additional restrictions.

Suburban Cook County, Region 10, saw hospitalizations rise by nearly 35 percent, even as the positivity rate slightly declined during the first week of October, falling by 0.2 percentage points to 5 percent on Tuesday, the most recent day where data is available from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

During the same period, daily new hospitalizations of patients with “COVID-like illnesses,” or CLI, rose from a rounded rolling average of 23 people a day to 31 people a day on Oct. 6.

Only one region is currently subject to increased restrictions to limit the spread of coronavirus as part of the 11-region Restore Illinois COVID-19 resurgence plan, as of Friday. It is the third region where public health officials have tightened limits on gatherings and businesses due to high positivity rates.

In Region 1, the Rockford emergency medical services region, the seven-day rolling average coronavirus positivity rate has remained above 8 percent for more than two weeks. Three days above the threshold leads to mandatory mitigation measures. Restrictions on indoor service at bars and restaurants will be in effect in the nine-county region until its rate stays below 6.5 percent for three consecutive days.

That happened this week in Region 4, where the “tier 2” restrictions on businesses and gatherings were first imposed on Aug. 18. The Metro East region hit a high of 10.5 percent positivity in late August before coming down to 5.8 by Friday, when public health officials announced the restrictions had been lifted.

Region 7 was the first to have its regional restrictions rolled back, with mitigations imposed on Aug. 27 were lifted Sept. 18.

The region with the fastest growing positivity rate — and the highest rate outside of the Rockford region — is Region 5 in Southern Illinois. The Marion emergency medical services region saw its positivity rate spike from 5.6 percent to 7 percent this week. If the rolling average continues to rise at that rate, the region could be on pace for additional restrictions as soon as next week.

The next highest rate was in Region 6 excluding Champaign County. Public health officials have begun calculating the region’s positivity rate without counting results from the University of Illinois’ comprehensive saliva testing program. Outside of the county, the positivity rate was 6.7 percent, although it had declined by half a point from a week earlier.

The number of counties in the state at a warning level on the IDPH decreased by two over the past week. The 26 counties where two or more county-level risk indicators show an increasing COVID-19 threat are: Case, Christian, Clay, Clinton, Coles, Crawford, Effingham, Fayette, Henderson, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Lake, Lee, Mason, Massac, Pulaski, Richland, Saline, Shelby, Union, Vermilion, Whiteside, Winnebago and Warren.

As of Thursday night, there were 1,812 people hospitalized

Camden County Passes 11K Coronavirus Cases, Is At ‘Moderate’ Risk

CAMDEN COUNTY, NJ — Camden County is one of 11 counties in the state that have seen a rise in some key metrics in the coronavirus crisis, according to a new report that was issued as the county surpassed 11,000 cases.

On Friday, Camden County officials announced 84 new positive cases of the coronavirus, bringing the county’s total to 11,091 cases with 559 confirmed deaths. The county had surpassed 11,000 cases on Thursday, when it had announced 53 new positive cases

The state Department of Health’s “COVID-19 Activity Level Report,” which is issued weekly, says the coronavirus activity level rose from “low” to “moderate” over the past week in Camden County. Read more here: 11 NJ Counties Backslide In Coronavirus Crisis: Here’s Where

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“This is the most cases, and the highest seven-day average of cases, we have seen since late July,” Camden County Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr. said. “As we have said all week, now is the time to reduce your possible exposures to this virus. Do not wait until we are in the midst of uncontrolled viral activity to take extra steps. We do not know if this is the start of a second wave, a larger spike, or merely a momentary increase in cases; however these sudden shifts underscore the volatility of the crisis we are navigating. Wear a mask, social distance, and do everything in your power to protect our circle, so we can get back to normal.”

Over the past week, Camden County reported 38 new cases on Wednesday, 15 on Tuesday and 26 on Monday. The county saw 57 new cases on Sunday and 54 new cases on Saturday.

Camden City has the highest number of cases in the county, with 2,883 cases and 87 confirmed deaths. Three other towns — Cherry Hill (1,510), Gloucester Township (1,119) and Pennsauken (1,004) — have exceeded 1,000 cases.

The report divides New Jersey into six regions, with Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem counties making up the Southwest Region. All four counties saw a rise from “low” to “moderate” risk, as did Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Union counties.

By rising to a “moderate” level, state officials said, school districts in those counties may have to take more serious steps — such as quarantining or even shutting down schools — if a child shows the symptoms of COVID-19.

In Camden County, the Cherry Hill and Collingswood school districts opened the year in remote learning models, while Timber Creek Regional High School in Gloucester Township closed for one day this week out of an abundance of caution over four positive coronavirus tests. Read more here: Timber Creek HS In Gloucester Twp. Given OK To Reopen

The Camden County Health Department is currently working to trace close contacts of these newest cases. The investigations are still ongoing, and the county will update the

Montgomery County Public Health District urges flu shots during COVID-19 pandemic

The Montgomery County Public Health District is urging residents to get vaccinated for the flu and is currently taking appointments for children with adult bookings coming soon.

“This year, it’s even more important with COVID because the signs and symptoms of COVID are very similar to that of the flu,” said Alicia Williams, MCPHD’s public health director.

Looming over this flu season is the possibility of there being a confluence with COVID-19. And that can happen, Williams said as she pointed to a full hospital capacity due to COVID-19 in July.

“We don’t want to have that situation if we can prevent it. And getting a flu shot is one way we can prevent it,” she said, signaling a strain on supplies, nurse and space capacity brought on by flu hospitalizations.

As of Thursday, there are 61 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the county, including 18 in ICU, according to the Montgomery County Hospital District.


“Getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever during 2020-2021 to protect yourself and the people around you from flu, and to help reduce the strain on healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,” reads a statement on the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

MCHPD is booking appointments for free vaccines for children 6 months to 18 who are either uninsured, have Medicaid, or lack coverage. Vaccinations for children without insurance are being billed at $10, with waivers available for those who cannot pay.

Unlike in years past, this year, MCHPD is vaccinating adults who are privately insured and with comorbidities or are part of a high-risk group like the elderly. Those who do not qualify can pay the $10 fee with available waivers.

The vaccine includes the four most common and prevalent flu strains and is applied through injection. Williams explained taking the vaccination during the fall is most effective because that is right ahead of the peak season, usually at the end of the year.

Aside from the danger of a contagion intensified by COVID-19, Williams wants to remind people the flu can cost them work productivity, wages and school time. A vaccine, she continued, could avoid that.

Furnished by the State of Texas, there is currently no shortage of vaccines, according to Williams.

If people do not get vaccinated through MCPHD, Williams is still encouraging the general public to get a vaccine at pharmacy chains offering it. She also wants people to understand the mild aching and fever they may experience from the vaccine does not mean they have the flu, but rather that their immune system is activating antibiotics.

And to that effect, MCHD paramedics were vaccinated last week. Additionally, MCHD will be carrying out flu shots on Meals on Wheels recipients.

“Ideally (mask usage) would reduce the spread of COVID, but it would also reduce the spread of flu,” she said, while also highlighting the importance of social distancing. “Our goal here is prevention, and that’s across the board for public health. One way we can do