A Madera County man in his sixties died from coronavirus on Thursday, marking the first fatality of the San Joaquin Valley from the virus, Madera County Public Health officials announced.
The man, who had underlying health conditions, acquired the disease via person-to-person contact and died at Madera Community Hospital. He tested positive for the disease on March 23.
Meanwhile, Madera County announced an increase in the total number of active cases in its jurisdiction to 8, excluding the deceased man and another patient, in their seventies, that recovered.
Of Madera County’s 10 total confirmed cases, all but three were over the age of 60. Only one is under the age of 20.
Meanwhile, in Fresno County, public health officials announced eight new confirmed cases of coronavirus – raising its total to 27 active cases.
Three of the cases are ascribed to community spread or an unknown source. Seven others remain under investigation.
“These new identified cases indicate that there is evidence of community-spread in Fresno County, but the extent is still not clear,” said Fresno County Public Health director David Pomaville.
Regardless of the extent, Fresno County is already shifting gears to prepare for a surge in medical demand.
Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig confirmed Thursday that the Fresno Fairgrounds will be one of eight triage centers in California utilizing beds provided by the Federal government.
The fairgrounds will receive 250 beds in total. Those hospital beds will be utilized only in the event that Valley hospitals run out of bed space to handle coronavirus cases.
Magsig told ABC30 that Fresno County and Fair officials are “are accepting resources from the state and federal government, to make sure we can meet the demands of this region if it gets to that level.”
He added that local hospitals would provide staffing in that event. Given the lack of intensive care services, Fairground beds would be reserved for lower tier coronavirus cases.