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COVID-19 “paradox”: County reports declining cases but more confirmed deaths

Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Recent COVID-19 data from San Luis Obispo County Public Health is revealing what the department calls a “paradox” of declining case numbers but a high amount of confirmed deaths.

In a release today, the department pointed out that both locally and nationwide, each COVID surge is generally followed by more reported deaths as people “who have struggled for weeks with severe illness succumb to the disease.”

The county has moved from announcing confirmed deaths twice a week to once a week on Wednesdays, and today reported that 10 more county residents ranging in age from their 40s to their 90s have died from the virus.

Meanwhile, the county is reporting 147 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 since last week, bringing the 14-day daily average to 27. It was 207 one month ago.

Active cases are also significantly down to 194 compared to 344 last Wednesday.

NIne people are hospitalized with severe cases of COVID, down from 67 at the Omicron variant’s peak in January.

The county is also starting to wind down testing and vaccination sites. The community testing site in Morro Bay will close on March 31 and hours have been reduced at the Grover Beach site.

The county is also reducing availability at vaccine sites and integrating them into regular public health clinic operations due to less demand for the vaccines.

County Public Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said, “While we believe the decline in reported cases represents a true downward trend, these numbers do not represent all cases as at-home testing has become more available. The virus is unfortunately still spreading at a higher level than any of us would like to see.”

Benjamin Purper was News Director of KCBX from May of 2021 to September of 2023. He came from California’s Inland Empire, where he spent three years as a reporter and Morning Edition host at KVCR in San Bernardino. Dozens of his stories have aired on KQED’s California Report, and his work has broadcast on NPR's news magazines, as well. In addition to radio, Ben has worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance writer.
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