Amid surge, officials warn that COVID-19 also jeopardizes those without underlying health issues

December 12, 2020
Death toll rising
Page 1 

By Peggy Kelly

Santa Paula Times

The COVID-19 death toll contains those who have no underlying health conditions and those struck by the infection include all ages, not just the elderly, county officials said Wednesday at their regular briefing.

“We’re still in the middle of a surge,” said Public Health Care Agency Director Rigoberto Vargas. “It’s very concerning,” and he urged the public to “wear masks at all times when out in the public,” pickup on hand washing, and “Limit further your gatherings” to help stop the spread.

There have been 197 deaths total and with hospitalizations and Intensive Care Unit admittance at a record high, more can be expected.

The surge, said Vargas, is also stressing health care workers who have been working “24/7 for the past nine months” with a mounting number of patients and risking their own health.

“Think about them, they’re exhausted, and keep them in mind,” as an incentive to take precautions.

Vargas said with a surge, “There are more cases, more hospitalizations, more being treated in the ICU, and more deaths. And they’re not all seniors, and not all have comorbidities.”

Even those with underlying health conditions, he added, are not always at high risk for death unless they catch COVID-19.

Ventura County Medical Center/Santa Paula Hospital CEO Dr. John Fankhauser said two days prior to feeling ill is when those with the coronavirus are contagious, and healthcare workers are at 8 times the risk due to COVID exposure.

Nurses and doctors have died, including, he said, a “healthy, 51-year-old doctor,” who passed after treating COVID patients.

Fankhauser said the news is good though with the soon-to-be-released vaccine, but he cautioned the public not to listen to “conspiracy theory talk… ”

Such new vaccines, he noted, undergo rigorous testing and an exhaustive approval process from various professional groups and agencies.

“COVID has been called a disease of the elderly — no way. This is an illness,” that 40% of those hospitalized with at VCMC and SPH are under the age of 50, including one teenager and one patient in his or her 20s.

“It’s wrong-minded thinking,” and Fankhauser said the public must respond by being more diligent to stop the spread.

Especially as, if the upward trend continues, “In three or four weeks that will be beyond our hospitals' capabilities” of care. “You can’t think this disease will mysteriously go away,” said Fankhauser. “It won’t… ”

At the Wednesday briefing, it was also reported there were 170 new cases, two additional deaths (85 and 86 year old males with comorbidities), current hospitalizations of 147, and 42 of those patients being treated in Intensive Care Units.

Santa Paula has 1,549 cases recorded since March 18 and 18 deaths.

Site Search



Call 805 525 1890 to receive the entire paper early. $50.00 for one year.