While Groundhog Day isn't until February 2, Bill Murray could likely star in a COVID version sequel of the classic movie because here we go again.

Just like last winter another COVID-19 surge driven by Omicron has taken over and figures to become larger in the coming weeks. And the stats for Tulare County have overall become significantly worse in just the last two days.

Tulare County is still faring much better than the rest of the state, which has continued to see a worsening trend that's been significant over the last two days as well. But the pattern in past surges has been for urban areas to be hit the hardest first and then for rural areas such as Tulare County to be hit just as bad in the coming weeks.

The state's case rate jumped from 46 per 100,000 on Monday to 88.7 per 100,000 on Wednesday. Tulare County's case rate is still far lower than the rest of the state at 20.8 per 100,000.

But that still places the county back in the highest infectious level as determined by the Centers For Disease Control, which is high. The county had previously been in the next highest level, substantial. And on Monday the case rate was 12 per 100,000 in the county as reported by the state.

The state's positive test rate also rose from 15.9 percent on Monday to 21.3 percent on Wednesday. Tulare County's positive test rate from from eight percent on Monday to 11.6 percent on Wednesday. On December 27 that positive test rate was 4.1 percent.

And there continues to be a gradual increase in hospitalizations over the last two days. On Monday the state reported there were 58 hospitalizations in Tulare County due to COVID. On Wednesday that number rose to 67, the highest number since December 13.

The number of ICU beds in the county remained stable, though, as the state reported on Wednesday there were 15 ICU beds available in Tulare County, the same number as Monday.

And Sierra View Medical Center reported on Tuesday only three of its 10 ICU beds were being used and none were being used by COVID patients. Sierra View reported on Tuesday it had 18 COVID patients and six patients suspected of having COVID.

The number of active cases in Tulare County also rose considerably over the last two days from 1,403 on Monday to 1,580 on Wednesday.

The omicron virus is causing more breakthrough cases in those who are fully vaccinated. Early data shows booster shots are providing more protection against omicron.

The state doesn't have data on case rates for those with booster shots, just those fully vaccinated without booster shots and the unvaccinated.

For the week of December 20-26, the state reported the unvaccinated were 3.9 times likely to be infected with COVID than the fully vaccinated. That number keeps coming down and was down from 5.2 times the previous week.

The number of the unvaccinated to be more likely to be hospitalized than the fully vaccinated also is falling but remains high. In its most recent update the state reported the unvaccinated are 10.1 times more likely to be hospitalized than the fully vaccinated, down from 14.2 times the previous week. The state reported the unvaccinated are 16.6 times more likely to die from COVID than the fully vaccinated.

At least for the time being one indicator when it comes to COVID has actually improved. Tulare County's R number which measures the rate of spread of the virus has fallen to .99, down from 1.12 on Monday. The county is now fallen from the “likely increasing” category to “likely stable,” meaning the number of cases is expected to increase at their current level. The number .99 represents the average number of people who would be infected by one infected person.

The state has reported since March, 2020 there have been 72.893 cases in Tulare County. On Wednesday Tulare County Health and Human Services reported there has been 72.647 cases.

The state also reported there have been 1,172 deaths in the county while the county health department reported on Wednesday there has been 1,159 deaths. Sierra View has had 254 deaths due to COVID.

Nearly 15 percent of Tulare County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

MASK MANDATE EXTENDED

The state extended its mask mandate it adopted in December through February 15. It calls for all those regardless of vaccination status to wear a mask while indoors.

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