The severe winter covid-19 surge in the East Bay may have hit its peak, said an Alameda County public health official this week.
“I think we might be through the worst,” Alameda County Interim Public Health Officer Nicholas Moss said on Tuesday.
Moss, however, added there is not yet enough evidence clearly showing the surge has passed its peak number of cases, but several trend lines suggest that it’s forthcoming.
The impact of the holiday season on hospitalizations and ICUs remains evident, but has stabilized, Moss told the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. “Hospitals are full, but holding steady,” he said.
As of Tuesday, 424 hospitalizations were reported in Alameda County, along with 113 patients in ICU, Moss said. “These numbers have been quite consistent over the past 10 days.”
Since the pandemic began last March, 63,886 total cases of covid-19 have been reported in Alameda County, in addition, to 768 deaths, as of Thursday. Since shortly after Thanksgiving, the rate of new daily cases has skyrocketed, often nearing or exceeding 1,000 new cases a day.
Meanwhile, the county’s rollout of the covid-19 vaccine continues to be slow. Last week, county health officials told the Board of Supervisors that residents 65 and older may begin receiving the vaccine sometime in early February.
Days later, Gov. Gavin Newsom directed hospitals to administer vaccinations to the same age group. The move, however, has jammed local hospital phone lines with eager seniors seeking the vaccine. Wait times for speaking with hospital employees, according to reports, can be as high as 17 hours.
The outlook for returning to a sense of momentum toward normalcy is uncertain.
Last week, Alameda County public health officials extended the governor’s December stay-at-home orders. Once the orders are rescinded, it is expected counties will resume use of the state’s color-coded guide for the gradually reopening of the economy.
At the present rate of new cases, Moss said last week, Alameda County would likely re-emerge from the stay-at-home order in the restrictive purple tier, a grouping that still prohibits most indoor public activities and regulates many others to outdoor-only services.