Fresno

As impatience sets in, Fresno Co. emphasizes ramp up in coronavirus, antibody testing

As talks about lifting various shelter-in-place orders throughout the country are ramping up, Fresno County Department of Health Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra is encouraged by the discussion.

“I’m feeling that impatience as well. I’m not immune to it,” said Vohra in a teleconference. “I live in this community. I’ve been observing and enduring some of the same disruptions that so many of our other community members have. And I know that a lot of people have it a lot worse.

“They want to get back to work. They want to get back to being productive. And I’m very sensitive to all of that. To me, I think it’s important to have those conversations, and I value those. I think that these are the kinds of dialogues that we actually need to be having.”

Discussions about reopening don’t hinge one when it can happen, but what businesses can and should do when the time comes, Vohra said.

“Really I think that’s going to be a different answer for every single kind of sector that wants to reopen,” Vohra said. “A dog groomer is not going to have the same sort of safety issues and precautions that need to be in place as a salon or a barber shop.”

Even though the total number of active COVID-19 cases jumped to 320 on Monday – an increase of 40 from Saturday, the last reported day – discussions to lift the shelter-in-place orders are supported by the low death toll in the county.

The number of fatalities in Fresno County remains at seven and has not increased since April 14.

Out of the total cases, 44 are travel related, 184 are from person-to-person contact, 206 are from community spread and 64 are under investigation. There have been 91 total hospitalizations, and 171 individuals have fully recovered.

The antibody tests that have popped up throughout the country are still a few weeks away from hitting Fresno County, Vohra said.

Although the antibody test will reveal if an individual has already had the disease and is immune moving forward, not everyone who previously tested positive for COVID-19 will be immune.

“Just because you’ve had an infection in the past doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re immune automatically in the future,” Vohra said.

Last week, Vohra announced that the state will be opening up a high-volume coronavirus testing site in the county that will add an additional 100 tests per day. Vohra expects the department to announce the site’s location sometime this week.

“Hopefully the whole local community will cheer whenever they hear about exactly where it’s going to be,” Vohra said. “But nonetheless, this is just one more way that we’re ramping up testing, and we’re not done with this. This is just adding to our armamentarium of sustainable testing that we want to establish here in the county, and this will actually just help us reach that goal of 152 tests per 100,000 residents in the county.”

Daniel Gligich
Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.