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COVID-19: A look at how Citrus Heights compares to other cities

A screenshot from the county’s online health dashboard shows hospitalizations (dark blue) and ICU patient numbers, as of Nov. 20, 2020. The peak in July was 281 hospitalizations and 91 ICU patients.

Sentinel staff report–
COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Citrus Heights, but county health data indicates the city is seeing a lower percentage of cases and deaths compared to other cities in the area.

As of Nov. 20, a combined total of 32,865 COVID-19 cases were reported in Sacramento County, with that total rising by several hundred every day in November. The highest daily total of new cases, 522, was reported on Nov. 9, which topped the earlier record of 403 cases reported on July 20.

The total number of cases reported in Citrus Heights is 1,347, meaning about 4.1% of the county’s cases come from residents of Citrus Heights. Compared to the city’s population size, the city makes up about 5.7% of the county’s 1.5 million residents.

The majority of deaths and cases in the county have occurred within the city of Sacramento, which exceeded 300 deaths last week and has reported more than 18,000 cases. In the city of Sacramento, roughly 1 in 28 residents has now had a confirmed infection, compared to Citrus Heights where that number is 1 in 65.

Rancho Cordova has also seen a greater percentage of deaths and cases than Citrus Heights. Despite having a smaller population of about 75,000, the city has reported several more deaths, 26, and roughly the same number of cases as Citrus Heights.

Folsom, with its population of around 81,000, has a far lower share of cases: 859, or about 1 confirmed case per 94 residents. The death toll is also much lower, with just seven deaths as of Nov. 20th.

The varying concentrations of case numbers and deaths has caused some area leaders to advocate for a targeted, zip-code-based implementation of COVID-19 restrictions, rather than the state’s current approach of colored tier classifications that are implemented county-by-county.

The Citrus Heights Chamber of Commerce, along with Folsom’s mayor and Sacramento County Supervisor Sue Frost, are among those calling for a zip-code based model, similar to one used in New York.

COVID-19: Frost joins leaders in calling for business reopenings by zip code

While case numbers have far exceeded the prior July peak, hospitalizations and ICU cases are still significantly lower than their peak at the end of July. However, past data shows hospitalizations and deaths typically spike several weeks after a sharp rise in cases occurs.

As of Thursday, the county health department reported 231 hospitalizations and 50 ICU patients involving COVID-19. The prior peak, on July 30, saw 281 hospitalized and 91 ICU patients.

The county’s online COVID-19 health dashboard shows a total of 530 ICU beds countywide, with 434 in use. There are also an additional 426 surge capacity beds, with 3 currently in use.

The dashboard also tracks available ventilators, reporting a total of 416 at county hospitals, with 175 in use.

See county health dashboard: click here

Efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 include discussion of how to enforce health orders at local businesses. The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors was slated on Tuesday to vote on an ordinance to allow the county to fine businesses who violate state and local health orders, but consideration of the item was pushed back to December, according to The Sacramento Bee.

The Citrus Heights Chamber of Commerce in an email alert Monday said it opposes the county’s proposal to fine businesses, saying “we do not believe a large proportion of the spread is attributable to the types of businesses being potentially levied fines outlined in this ordinance.” The chamber noted statements from county health officials who have pointed to home gatherings as a key factor in the rising case numbers.

Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday issued a statewide curfew affecting any counties in the “Purple Tier” of COVID-19 restrictions, which includes Sacramento County and the majority of counties across the state.

In a tweet, the governor said non-essential work and gatherings must halt between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., in counties affected by the curfew. He said the order would be in effect beginning at 10 p.m. on Nov. 21 and remain in place for one month.

The order was issued in response to a steep rise in COVID-19 cases across the state. The governor’s office described the order as a “limited stay at home order,” as compared with a more broad stay-at-home order issued early in the pandemic to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Several area law enforcement agencies said they would not be enforcing the order, or policing Thanksgiving gatherings.

COVID-19: Will Citrus Heights police be enforcing curfew times, Thanksgiving cap?

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