The COVID case rate continues to rise in Tulare County and while there's also a gradual increase in the number of hospitalizations in the county, it hasn't been as high as the overall case rate.

On Monday the state reported Tulare County's case rate had risen to 38.3 per 100,000. The case rate has more than tripled in the last week as last Monday the state reported the county's case rate was 12 per 100,000.

The county's case rate is still well below the state's case rate which has risen to 145.3 per 100,000. The fear is the pattern of past surges will be followed in this most recent surge with more rural areas such as Tulare County eventually being hit just as hard as urban areas in the state.

The latest R number for Tulare County which measures the rate of spread of the virus seems to indicate that could happen. While still lower than the rest of the state the county's R number is now in the “likely increasing rapidly” category at 1.42. Just last week the county's R number had dipped down to the “likely stable” category at .99.

Likely increasing rapidly indicates the county's case rate is expected to increase at a far higher level than its current rate. The number 1.42 represents the average number of people who would be infected by one infected person.

The number of active cases in Tulare County also increased by nearly 1,000 over the weekend. On Friday Tulare County Health and Human Services reported there were 1,764 cases. That number increased to 2,687 on Monday.

The state's case rate continues to reach all-time highs after surpassing the previous high of 112 per 100,000 last January.

One indicator the most recent surge driven by omicron the latest surge is beginning to level off at least as far as the state is concerned is its positive test rate showed signs of beginning to level off on Monday. The state's positive test rate is still considerably high at 22.1 percent but that's a slight increase from the 21.7 percent on Friday. Since Wednesday the state's positive test rate has increased by less than 1 percent.

Tulare County's positive test rate, though, continues to rise considerable and is now nearing the state level at 19.3 pecent. The county's positive test rate has more than doubled in the last week as last Monday it was eight percent.

The number of hospitalizations continues to rise but not at as high of a rate as the overall case rate. On Monday the state reported there were 66 hospitalizations in Tulare County due to COVID-19, an increase of four over the previous day.

Sierra View Medical Center continued to report the same level of COVID patients it has had for about a week. Sierra View reported on Monday afternoon it had 15 COVID patients and four patients suspected of having COVID.

But a concerning state is the number of ICU beds in the county is decreasing. On Monday the state reported eight ICU beds were available in Tulare County, down from the 13 to 15 ICU beds that had been available last week. Later on Monday Sierra View reported eight of its 10 ICU beds were in use, up from the five it reported on Friday.

Since March 11, 2020 the county health department reported there have been 74,036 cases in Tulare County. The health department reported 1,100 new cases over the weekend.

The state's figure for total cases in Tulare County was 75,085 as of Monday. The county health department reported there has been 1,179 deaths due to COVID in Tulare County while the state figure on Monday was 1,185 deaths for the county. Sierra View Medical Center has had 255 deaths due to COVID.

There have been 15.2 percent of Tulare County residents who have tested positive for COVID.

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