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Hospitalizations edge up as new coronavirus cases continue to climb

Marin’s coronavirus case rates are now at the highest level of the two-year pandemic outside the winter omicron surge, with the county seeing an average of 172 new cases per day and COVID-19-specific hospitalizations more than doubling from four cases to nine since May 1.

The Bay Area remains a national hotspot for new cases. Since the BA.2 and other subvariants of omicron have taken a foothold in Marin, Tiburon’s 14-day case rate has jumped to 61 per 10,000 residents on May 20 compared with 15 per 10,000 on April 1. Belvedere’s is now 47, compared with 19. The virus has proven that individuals can be infected repeatedly, sometimes within months, as officials warn that known case rates may be understated with the prevalence of at-home testing and unreported positive results.

While Marin and Bay Area public-health officials have urged residents to resume using N95 or KN95 masks again in indoor public spaces, they’ve resisted imposing any new mandates — as long as vaccines, boosters and the characteristics of the variants themselves reduce the most severe outcomes, such as hospitalization and death — based on a strategy that accepts most residents will eventually become infected and shifts mitigation responsibilities entirely to individuals.

However, current public-health policy in Marin and nationwide appears to take little consideration for long COVID, in which several studies estimate that 10-30 percent of people infected report long-term symptoms, such as fatigue, beathlessness, erratic heart rate, memory and concentration issues, headaches, dizziness and depression. A study published May 23 in Nature Medicine, a peer-reviewed medical journal, also shows the virus can cause ongoing damage to the heart, lungs and kidneys.

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