Fresno

Sources: Firebaugh couple mark Fresno Co.’s first coronavirus fatalities

Fresno County announced the second coronavirus-related death on Monday, arriving days after the county announced its first fatality.

Fresno County Department of Public Health Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra said the individual who passed away was an elderly man, but citing privacy reasons, could not reveal any more details.

Sources told The Sun that the man was the husband of the Firebaugh woman who passed Friday, serving as Fresno County’s first coronavirus fatality.

Total COVID-19 cases in the county saw a sharp increase from over the weekend. After just three new cases reported on Saturday and five on Sunday, suggesting a leveling off of sorts, the county reported a surge of 16 new cases on Monday.

The total positive-case count is now up to 116. Travel related cases account for 35 individuals, 18 cases are from person-to-person spread, 28 are from community spread and 43 are under investigation.

“My team is still collecting and analyzing all of the information related to those cases, and of course our hearts are going out to the families at this really challenging time,” Vohra said.

Currently, 14 individuals who contracted the virus are hospitalized in the county, Vohra said.

“Some of them are critically ill, so I know that there’s a lot of families that are also very worried about their relatives who are hospitalized, and we’re trying to support the doctors and nurses in helping to take care of them and wishing everyone a complete recovery,” Vohra said.

The county currently has about 100-150 ventilators available, Vohra said, as well as about 150 available ICU beds.

The department is estimating that Fresno County will be behind the larger metropolitan areas throughout the state in terms of facing a peak and surge in cases. While predictions have other cities hitting their peak over the next two weeks, Fresno County’s could come later.

“We may not actually see our peak in the numbers of critically-ill patients until the end of this month, and that’s something that we’re preparing for,” Vohra said.

That means it is likely that people will have to continue social distancing and sheltering in place for an extended period.

“I think we’re going to have to see really a curve that looks like it’s flattened out both nationally, statewide, as well as here in our local area, and to feel really comfortable that the social distancing measures can be lightened somewhat before that happens.”

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.