FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – An uptick in COVID-19 cases is once again the warning from the Fresno County Department of Public Health on Friday. Health officials reported more than twice as many cases this week than last week.

“Both the number of hospitalized and the test positivity is creeping up,” said Dr. Rais Vohra, Fresno County’s interim health officer.

There were 52 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 on Friday, while the test positivity rate is hovering around 5%. While the numbers are low compared to spikes earlier in the pandemic, the positive tests this week are more than double from last week. The numbers don’t include stats from home tests.

“The numbers have come way down since where we were in January. Now they’re starting to slide into the wrong direction,” said Vohra.

Fresno County is also monitoring the sewer systems for traces of COVID-19.

“The numbers in the wastewater have really gone way up in the last week. What that usually means is that there is a lot of COVID burdened in our community,” said Dr. Vohra, adding he’s warned health providers about this. “I said brace yourself because in the next 7-10 days we will likely see an uptick in the number of hospitalized patients.”

Dr. Vohra says the county has now converted OptumServe test sites into what’s known as a test to treat model.

“Whenever somebody comes with a test that comes back positive, they’re automatically referred to try to get a treatment. Usually, an oral treatment that they can get prescribed and then go pick up at a pharmacy,” said Dr. Vohra, explaining oral treatments are typically 5-days long.

Officials remind people to stay home if they present any symptoms and to get vaccinated if they haven’t already.

“60% fully vaccinated. I think I’ve said this number for like a month already, just not a lot of movement in Fresno County,” said assistant director of the Fresno County Department of Public Health Joe Prado.

Prado said the county is also working on a new task force to help underserved communities have better access to healthcare.

“For the next pandemic, we’re preparing for that today by building this community health worker network.”

Prado said the network would go beyond assisting patients.

“What does it take to find a doctor in this community and navigate through that medical system, whether it’s the eligibility side, application side; having a really culturally sensitive approach towards doing that in our vulnerable populations.”.