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Child hospitalized with COVID-19 "raises the specter of a pediatric pandemic"

September 29, 2021 — Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren gave a sobering covid update to the Board of Supervisors yesterday. In the last two weeks, there have been eight covid deaths at two nursing homes, and the first child with the illness has been admitted to the hospital, leading to perhaps the most chilling possibility since late 2019. Though vaccines for children are just around the corner, Coren reported that the first pediatric hospital case “Raises the spectre of a pediatric pandemic.”

A state-mandated vaccine requirement  with some significant loopholes goes into effect for all healthcare workers tomorrow, though it was too late for the eight vulnerable people who perished at the two nursing homes, each with low vaccination rates. The staff who tested positive were predominantly unvaccinated, Coren reported. “So while the surge in Northern California is affecting predominantly unvaccinated ten to one,  it is also having fatal consequences on those who are vaccinated and vulnerable who are in contact with the unvaccinated caregivers,” he added.

The mandate for healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated by September 30 was issued by the California Department of Public Health on August fifth. Employees may decline the vaccine due to religious beliefs or for qualifying medical reasons. Other staff in health care facilities are also required to be fully vaccinated by tomorrow.

As family members are no doubt planning funerals for vulnerable relatives who died after being exposed to those exercising their right to refuse the vaccine, one member of the public called in to inform the board that they and Dr. Coren will be held accountable for tyrannical policies that amount to human rights violations. Like many who oppose the use of public health restrictions to stop the spread of disease, she relied on language borrowed from civil rights struggles, referring to the order for bars and restaurants to place signs about their vaccine policies as segregation.

But Coren has been tentative about issuing vaccine mandates, declining to speculate on whether or not policy solutions could stop the surge.

Coren identified Redwood Cove in Ukiah and Sherwood Oaks in Fort Bragg as skilled nursing facilities that are currently experiencing outbreaks. Gabriel Barraza, the administrator for Redwood Cove, said that Currently, one resident of 41 at the facility is isolated after testing positive for covid 19, and that nearly 80 percent of their healthcare workers are fully or partially vaccinated. Dr. John Cottle of Sherwood Oaks sentout a message last week saying that 15 residents with covid-19 were in isolation, but with an 88% acceptance rate for the vaccine, only four of the 15 had symptoms that were significant but not severe. Cottle did not respond to an email requesting more detail on Tuesday.

Coren offered one piece of information that was somewhat reassuring: though there have been a total of 28 covid explosures at Mendocino County schools, there have been no outbreaks at schools so far.

 

Audio of "specter of pediatric pandemic"

 

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