SACRAMENTO, Calif —
Every day the number of new cases and deaths is reported showing an increase of more coronavirus infections. At the same time, people in the Sacramento region continue to wonder how many people are still sick and how many people have gotten better.
ABC10 has spoken with some survivors of the coronavirus, and, as we have seen, everyone has their own unique experience with the virus.
Sacramento County Health Officer, Dr. Olivia Kasirye, confirmed that this strain of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected patients differently across Sacramento county, making a recovery hard to track. Kasirye said the county instead monitors likely recovered cases when tracking the coronavirus.
“Caution should be exercised in interpreting the number of cases who are ‘likely recovered’ since ‘recovery’ varies by person, severity of disease, and can be subjective,” Kasirye said in a statement.
California Department of Public Health said Aug. 4 the system of reporting coronavirus cases has experienced a systemwide error and some of the numbers reported could be an underreporting of the actual number of cases. The state is currently investigating the issue.
Recovery rates are essential to show fewer people are spreading the virus and that all known cases are not placing a strain on the county’s hospital system, Kasirye said.
People who have recovered also pose less of a risk to the community because they are not transmitting as much of the virus as when they were sick according to the CDC.
"The risk of transmission after recovery is likely substantially less than that during illness," a spokesperson for the CDC said in an email. "Recovered persons will not be shedding large amounts of virus by this point, if they are shedding at all."
For smaller counties, people with the coronavirus can be easier to track their progress with the disease. But for larger counties like Stanislaus, San Joaquin, and Sacramento counties, tracking individual cases can be difficult with the continually growing number of people testing positive and how the disease affects people differently, Kasirye said.
Kasirye added recovery rates are subject to change as counties test more people, more people recover, and more people die.
The number of recovered cases could mean that every one of those people no longer has COVID-19, but people are not healing from the virus at the same rate of time.
For Sacramento County, Kasirye said the possible cases of recovery include people who are alive and have had 21 days pass since their diagnosis, symptoms showed, or test date.
The people who have recovered provide insight into the virus. Kasirye said more testing would help public health officials determine if “how pervasive the disease is in the community” the virus is, which could affect the speed of recovery for the state.
“We don’t understand enough about the disease yet to know for sure if having had the disease confers immunity,” Kasirye said.
While health officials still learn more about the coronavirus, Kasirye said there are four essential things health officials know and want the public to understand:
- COVID-19 is one type of coronavirus.
- Approximately 80% of confirmed cases have had mild to moderate symptoms.
- Those at higher risk for severe complications are either age 65+ or have underlying health conditions or other risk factors.
- Some people have no symptoms and may be able to transmit the infection without knowing they are carriers.
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