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COVID-19 numbers continue to rise in county, state, nation
Stanislaus County positive cases now at 17
COVID-19 travel sign
Signs along Highway 99 remind drivers to self-isolate, as the number of cases of COVID-19 rise in Stanislaus County and across the state (KRISTINA HACKER/The Journal).

The United States marked a grim milestone Thursday when the death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 1,000.

In Stanislaus County there have not been any deaths, but the number of positive cases rose to 17 on Thursday, according to the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency. There have been 653 negative cases.

Stanislaus County Health Services Agency reports confirmed cases of individuals with COVID-19 that reside in Stanislaus County. Other sources reporting different numbers may be including residents from outside Stanislaus County receiving treatment at a Stanislaus County facility.

In California, there were 3,006 positive cases and 65 deaths as of 2 p.m. Wednesday.

In the United States there were 74,071 confirmed cases and 1,067 deaths as of Thursday morning, according to John Hopkins University. Globally, there were more than 495,000 cases and 22,295 deaths.

Stanislaus County Public Health Director Dr. Julie Vaishampayan said the county is probably looking at six weeks before the stay at home order could be eased, though she stressed that it was not a hardline and depends on if the spread slows.

“The hope is that the more we stay home, don’t mix and don’t spread disease, then the shorter the time line will be,” Dr. Vaishampayan said.

Stanislaus County, like the rest of the world, is grappling with a shortage of tests for the virus. Dr. Vaishampayan said California counties are prioritizing tests for those already in the hospital and those living in congregate settings, like an assisted living facility.

“In a perfect world we would like to test everybody that wants to be tested, needs to be tested, but no there are not enough tests to go around right now,” Dr. Vaishampayan said. “There is a shortage of many things in the supply chain needed for testing.

“We are testing people where we need to know to make a difference in spread.”

There is drive through testing in Stanislaus County, but it is only for people referred by their doctor and is by appointment only. The Stanislaus County Health Services Agency is not doing testing.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever, a dry cough, and body aches. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and may have had contact with a person with COVID-19, or recently traveled to countries with apparent community spread, call your healthcare provider or local public health department first before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). This occurs through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.

Health officials recommend people:

-       Washing hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.

-       Avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.

-       Cover a cough or sneeze with your sleeve, or disposable tissue. Wash your hands afterward.

-       Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

-       Staying away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.