Graphic by Marco Perez-Lorente
As the pandemic spreads worldwide, including in the United States, Walnut Creek is experiencing a daily increase in the number of reported cases. It’s also important to remember that the United States has limited availability for testing. For the most part, only those with symptoms are generally screened for the disease. People can be infected with the virus but not exhibit any signs of COVID-19 and pass the disease to others. Therefore, due to lack of testing capabilities and asymptomatic carriers, the number of actual cases in Walnut Creek or anywhere else in the United States is unknown.
As of April 27, 2020, the Contra Costa County Health Department reports that the number of cases in Walnut Creek stands at 40 out of a population of approximately 70,000. Overall, the county of approximately 1.15 million residents indicates that there are 820 confirmed cases. The county death toll stands at 25. Overall, in the state of California there have been 1,805 deaths with 45,471 confirmed cases, while there are 1 million total cases in the country and 60,000 deaths. Although the county does not release information on deaths by city, Walnut Creek and Contra Costa residents are experiencing better health outcomes as compared to the state and country. The cities with the largest number of cases in Contra Costa County are Richmond with 95, next Concord at 74, and Antioch at 64. Those cities reporting the lowest number of cases are Bethel Island (a rural, small town) at 1, Pacheco and Clayton at 5 (both small towns somewhat near Concord), Rodeo at 6, and Moraga at 7. The number of people in the county who are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 is 25.
County health officials believe that the shelter-in-place order put in place on March 16 has greatly contributed to the low number of cases and deaths. Contra Costa along with the nearby counties of San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Marin, and Alameda took this action together. Since this date, residents are expected to stay at home unless they are essential workers or shopping for groceries or prescriptions. The county recently extended this order until May 31 along with the same six other nearby counties. The health officers of these counties recognize that the shelter-in-place orders are working and appreciate residents’ cooperation, “Thanks to the collective effort and sacrifice of the 7 million residents across our jurisdictions, we have made substantial progress in slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus.”