MADERA — The country’s first deaths from COVID-19 actually occurred weeks earlier than originally thought — and just 150 miles west of Madera County.
On Wednesday, national health officials confirmed that the nation’s first COVID-19 deaths happened in early February (Feb. 6) in Santa Clara County — weeks before the first “official” coronavirus death was reported in Seattle. “Neither of the victims had a travel history, meaning that in all probability they were infected in the community, indicating that the virus was already spreading at that time,” said a report Wednesday in the New York Times.
Madera County continues to hold its own in the battle against the coronavirus. No new cases were reported Tuesday or Wednesday and the so-called “COVID-19 curve” has continued to flatten locally over the past few weeks.
The effort to contain the spread of the virus in Madera County is being lead by a multi-agency “contact tracing” task force that includes members of the Madera County Sheriff’s Office, health department and even staff from the District Attorney’s Office, county probation department and local police departments.
So far, Madera County has reported just 36 confirmed COVID-19 cases — and two deaths — compared to neighboring Fresno and Tulare counties, which together have already confirmed over 800 cases and have had 30 deaths.
In Mariposa County, there has yet to be a confirmed case of COVID-19 and many residents are asking local leaders to ease restrictions.
“In looking at surge models that have been developed by academics as well as the state, it says that we’re really past that peak for the entire state,” Dr. Eric Sergienko, Mariposa County’s health officer said on Tuesday.
Madera County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) reported the latest confirmed cases of coronavirus on Monday, a man in his 30s and a woman in her 20s. Both contracted the virus through community spread, according to MCDPH.
Of the nine current “active” cases, two victims have been hospitalized for nearly two weeks, a man in his 70s and a woman in her 60s. Their current condition is not being disclosed by health officials.
MCDPH also reported Tuesday that 25 people around Madera County who had the virus are now fully recovered. The two county residents to die from COVID-19 were a man in his 60s and a woman in her 70s.
Out of respect for the victims’ and their families’ privacy, county health officials have not been releasing victims’ names or specific details regarding their condition.
In their most recent update, MCDPH officials said they are currently “monitoring” 70 individuals for signs of the virus and have now monitored a total of 650 county residents for COVID-19. For the latest MCDPH update, click here.
As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, there have been 37,343 confirmed COVID-19 cases across California, with the statewide death toll now at 1,419.
Nationally, there have now been 846,982 confirmed cases, with the pandemic claiming the lives of 46,609 Americans, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 tracker.