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Sentinel staff report–
The number of deaths associated with COVID-19 in Citrus Heights rose from five to a total of eight on Thursday, according to a May 14 update from the Sacramento County Public Heath department.
Citrus Heights Communications Officer Nichole Baxter told The Sentinel that the three new deaths reported Thursday “were all residents in congregate care.” She referred a request for additional information to the county’s COVID media team, which also only confirmed the deaths were “related to a congregate care setting.”
According to a statement on the county’s website, the health department’s policy is to not announce individual confirmed COVID-19 cases or deaths. The website does confirm that all deaths in Citrus Heights and Sacramento County “are among those age 65 and older, had underlying conditions, and/or had other risk factors.”
See county health data: click here
As of May 14, Sacramento County has seen a total of 1,194 cases of COVID-19, with nearly 1,000 of the cases now listed as “likely recovered.” Countywide, there have been 54 related deaths, nearly half of which have occurred at “congregate facilities.”
At least one of the eight deaths in Citrus Heights appears to have occurred at a skilled nursing facility in Citrus Heights, according to a report last updated on May 11 by the California Department of Public Health.
The report shows ManorCare Health Services, located at 7807 Uplands Wy., reporting “less than 11” deaths. A notice on the state’s website says specific death numbers are not listed unless deaths are over 10, “in accordance with de-identification guidelines.”
Nursing facilities with zero deaths are shown as “0,” meaning at least one COVID-related death was reported at the Citrus Heights facility. The website includes a disclaimer stating that appearance on the state’s report “does not imply wrongdoing on the part of the facility.” It also notes that some deaths listed “may include residents who had COVID-19, but died of something else.”
The total number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Sacramento County has slowed, leading county officials to push for joining neighboring counties in reopening the economy.
Compared to a week ago, county health data shows there have been just 18 new cases of COVID-19 in Sacramento County. The prior week saw an increase of 31. During some weeks in March and April, numbers rose by 100-200 per week.
As of May 13, the county health department shows 16 hospitalizations, down from 77 in early April. ICU cases have also dropped to nine, from a high of 33 last month.
State criteria released last week by the governor require counties to have zero COVID-19 deaths reported within the past two weeks, in order to qualify for loosening virus shutdown policies. While recent deaths disqualify Sacramento County from reopening, Sacramento County health chief Dr. Peter Beilenson told The Sacramento Bee this week that the county is “ready to open a little wider” and discussion is underway with state officials to make an exception for Sacramento County.
Bielenson told The Bee he is making the case that a county with 1.6 million people should not be held to the same death standard as counties with far less population.
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