Fresno

Vohra urges Fresno Co. to take care over Labor Day, not ruin recent COVID-19 progress

With COVID-19 case trends headed in the right direction in Fresno County, Dr. Rais Vohra, the county’s interim health officer, warned people to avoid gatherings over Labor Day Weekend. 

“I would say just cancel your plans, stay home and keep to yourself,” Vohra said during the county’s coronavirus health briefing Friday. “I know that that’s hard to do whenever you have a three day weekend, but that’s going to be really important for all of us to understand.” 

Although holding gatherings is a little less risky, vohra said, the current heat and air quality present another set of difficulties. 

“This is a really challenging time because I think outdoors the air quality and the heat are going to present some real hinderinces, and indoors, if people are gathering indoors at close quarters, that is going to really work against us in terms of slowing the spread of the virus,” Vohra said. “So I urge everyone, please stay home and keep to yourselves and stay within your own household.

“Or if you can’t do that, then if you want to brave the outdoors, then that’s a little bit less risky. The absolutely highest risk thing you can do is go over to someone else’s home and spend time indoors with people that are not your own household, because that will guarantee that someone in that gathering is going to have coronavirus and be able to pass it on to other people.” 

Fresno County currently sits in the state’s purple coronavirus zone, the most restrictive level in the four-tier color-coded system. 

On Friday, the county reported an additional 631 positive cases from Tuesday out of 7,923 tests processed. That totals an 8% positivity rate. 

Fresno County’s positivity rate over the last seven days is 7.3%. 

To move off the purple zone and into the red zone, Fresno County will have to maintain a positivity rate under 8% and have less than 70 new cases every day for 21 days.  

The county averaged 215 new positive cases daily over the last week. 

Moving into the red zone – the second most restrictive status – means the state will allow schools to reopen for in-person instruction in Fresno County. 

The hospitalization numbers are drastically lower than they were at their peak. Currently, Fresno County reports 156 individuals who are hospitalized with a positive case of COVID-19. At the peak at the end of July, the county had 313 people hospitalized. 

Of the patients currently hospitalized, 44 of them are in the ICU. The county had a high of 67 at the end of July. 

The total of fatalities rose by 22 from Tuesday to total 312. 

With the progress that Fresno County has made recently, Vohra does not want to see it all thrown away over the holiday weekend. 

“As tempting as it is to have those gatherings over Labor Day and do them indoors at close quarters, please be aware that that is a guaranteed mode of transmission, and we absolutely need everyone to understand how high-risk that is,” Vohra said. “That is really going to undo many weeks of progress that we’ve been able to show up with our trends, and it’s going to make it really hard for us to climb out of our purple zone and into the red zone for the month of September. 

“So please help us and please help your neighbors and friends, and please help the children get back to school by really staying safe this weekend, and hopefully if we continue on the pathway that we’re on with the trends that we’re seeing – we’re really optimistic – but we need everyone to be very mindful this Labor Day holiday.” 

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.