The Union Democrat
Tuolumne County reports 3 more deaths from COVID-19
The deaths of three more Tuolumne County residents to COVID-19 were announced on Tuesday, in addition to 21 new cases.
One of the three people who died was identified by the county Public Health Department as a vaccinated man in his 60s, while the other two were an unvaccinated man in his 70s and unvaccinated woman in her 80s.
County Public Health Director Michelle Jachetta said the vaccinated man actually died in late August to early September, but her department didn’t receive the information necessary to complete its investigation and make the report until Tuesday.
Jachetta said she couldn’t release the man’s identity when asked whether he was the late Allen Johnson, of Groveland.
The Forest Service announced in mid-september that Johnson, a retired wildland firefighter who spent most of his career working for the agency in the Stanislaus National Forest, died on Aug. 31 at age 68 from complications of
COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated.
Johnson was reportedly hospitalized in Bakersfield at the time of his death, which the Forest Service considered to be in the line of duty because it happened while he was assigned to help fight a blaze in Kern County.
Tuolumne County’s COVID-19 death toll climbed to 134 with the three reported on Tuesday. The total included seven vaccinated people, with the one reported on Tuesday being the only of the seven who was identified as a man in his 60s.
A woman in her 30s was the youngest vaccinated county resident so far to die from COVID-19,
with the rest being people in their 70s, 80s and 90s. The 127 unvaccinated people who have died include every age range, from younger than 18 to older than 90.
The death of the vaccinated woman in her 30s was reported by the county Public Health Department on Oct. 15, though officials confirmed she had actually died in September.
Hailey Hurst, who lived in Twain Harte and worked for the county Health and Human Services Agency, was 33 years old and fully vaccinated when she died from COVID-19 on Sept. 3 while hospitalized at Stanford Medical Center, her family told The Union Democrat for a story published on Sept. 10 about her death.
Hailey Hurst’s mother, Betsy Hurst, also confirmed to The Union Democrat on Oct. 15 that she had just received her daughter’s death certificate from Santa Clara County that same day.
Fully vaccinated people dying from COVID-19 remains rare both locally and nationwide despite the deaths of Hurst, Johnson, and five other older vaccinated Tuolumne County residents.
A study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that about 90% of all COVID-19 hospitalizations in 13 states were unvaccinated people.
There were six people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Tuolumne County on Tuesday, all of whom were unvaccinated. That was down from 14 people who were hospitalized at one time a week earlier on Nov. 2, which included 12 who were unvaccinated.
The 21 new cases in Tuolumne County reported on Tuesday included 19 unvaccinated people.
Tuesday’s new cases were identified as one girl younger than 11, four girls and three boys ages 12 to 17, two women and one man ages 18 to 29, four women and one man in their 30s, two women in their 40s, one woman in her 50s, one woman in her 60s, and one woman in her 70s.
There will be COVID-19 vaccination clinics by the county Public Health Department for children ages 5 to 11 years old on Friday. Appointments can be made at www.myturn. ca.gov.
The department will also host a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine clinic 9 a.m. to noon and 1:15 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in the Manzanita Building at Mother Lode Fairgrounds.
Saturday’s clinic will have initial doses for those 18 and older who have not been vaccinated yet, as well as boosters and additional doses available for those eligible. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments encouraged and can be made at www.myturn. ca.gov. For more information call (209) 533-7440.