SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KION) The COVID-19 projected spread has changed drastically over the last month and a half. Top health experts in Santa Cruz county said Thursday, modeling shows a possible peak now as late as August.
In early April, modeling from epidemiologists in Santa Cruz county projected an hospital surge by early May. As of Thursday, there are only two COVID-19 patients in Santa Cruz County hospitals. County health experts said that modeling changed thanks to the successful efforts of the shelter-in-place and increased testing.
“I don’t think we could have predicted that two months ago, and how responsive [Santa Cruz County residents] would be and the models reflect that,” Santa Cruz County deputy health officer Dr. David Ghilarducci said.
The models are led by Santa Cruz County's epidemiologist, Mikala Caton.
“They change a lot. We are on version eight of the model…that’s simply because you cannot account for how much the interventions are going to impact and that constantly changes,” Caton said.
Around the time the shelter-in-place began cases were doubling every six days, and now there's only a doubling rate about every three weeks.
“Our immediate estimates have been low, and we’re likely to continue to see those low hospital counts if we continue to behave the way we’re behaving,” Caton said.
Some new modeling suggests if cases fade off towards the very end of summer, more covid-19 cases will likely follow in the fall. That happened with the Spanish Flu in 1918.
“We have to operate under the assumption that the virus is going to be ever present. It may go into a quiescent phase in the summer and then, like the 1918 flu, surge again in the fall,” Ghilarducci said.
As of Thursday, there have been 139 confirmed cases and two deaths, according to the county Health Services Agency.