California counties could move tiers next week; El Dorado officials not hopeful
During a press conference at a community vaccination site on Tuesday in Los Angeles, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said that based on current trend lines, counties could be moving out of the purple tier in the next coming weeks.
“I anticipate a substantial number [of counties moving out of the purple tier] next week and even more in subsequent weeks,” said Newsom during the conference.
However, he did say that not only is the nature of the virus making it hard to predict the future, but that the variants are a caveat for predictions. Currently, the state has sequenced 189 cases of the UK variant, two of the South African variant and 1,834 of the west coast variant.
Newsom said that he expects counties to be moving out of purple to red and even those in red moving into orange tiers as well.
“Parts of the state are already beginning to open back up. Businesses are already taking shape with modifications nonetheless,” he said. “And, it is a priority to get our kids safely back to school.”
El Dorado County, being one of those in the purple tier, has seen a decline in the adjusted case rate which is a factor in moving tiers.
However, Communications Director Carla Hass doesn’t think El Dorado County will be one of those moving next week.
“It is highly unlikely that we will move into the red tier next week,” said Hass.
Wednesday’s coronavirus update did show a small bump from last week in the adjusted case rate, but the rate was still less than Tuesday. Last week, the adjusted case rate was 11.3 and as of Wednesday the rate is 13.6.
On Thursday, just two new cases were reported
However, the overall trend shows the adjusted case rate continuing to fall. Just two weeks ago, the rate was 22.7. New virus cases continue to fall as well.
The county’s adjusted case rate needs to be at seven before moving tiers which would loosen restrictions on local businesses. While Gov. Newsom said that counties could begin moving tiers as soon as next week, the adjusted case rate needs to remain at seven or below for two weeks before the county will be eligible to move tiers as outlined in the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
The adjusted case rate is based on several factors, including population size, testing volume, positivity rate and health equity quartile positively rate. Regardless of population size, an adjusted case rate of seven is what all counties need to be at to be eligible for the red tier.
El Dorado County reported only nine new cases on Wednesday and none from the Lake Tahoe region. In the county, there have been a total of 91 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. There are five hospitalizations fighting the virus with three patients in intensive care.
While the county numbers are moving into better shape, residents are continuing to find it difficult to receive vaccines whether it be supply or seniors trying to navigate the website.
Hass said that she understands that people continue to be frustrated in the last board of supervisors meeting. The governor also expressed the manufactured supply is the state’s only constraint regarding administering more vaccines.
“The issue at the end of the day is supply. We need more vaccines,” he said.
During the conference, Newsom said that the supply is going to be limited for the next few weeks.
As of Feb. 11, the county has administered approximately 19,000 doses and remaining doses are already earmarked for scheduled appointments and clinics.
The county website still shows that they are not taking any appointments and that all clinics are completely booked and it may continue to be booked towards the end of February.
Currently, health workers, residents 75 and older and those working in the education sector, childcare, emergency services or food and agriculture are eligible for the vaccine. The county is estimating that in April to May, those in Tier 2 of Phase 1B will be eligible.
There are a total of 47,507 Californians who have died from the virus since the beginning of the pandemic. The state has 8,855 residents hospitalized with 2,533 in the ICU.
On Wednesday, Washoe County reported 33 new cases, 6,306 active cases and no new deaths. In the last week, new cases have remained significantly lower than last month.
Also, Gov. Steve Sisolak announced that the eligible age to receive the vaccine has been lowered from 70 to 65 years of age. In person class size restrictions have also been increased to 75% capacity and contact sports that were on the “no play list” like football can now resume under regulations.
Local districts should be transferred control as of May 1.
While Washoe County is seeing encouraging numbers Health Officer Kevin Dick warns residents to continue with personal safety measures as the variant is most likely present and now is not the time to relax precautions.
The county’s positivity rate is 8.9%, which is down about 2% from last week and during the surge of the pandemic, the rate was around 22%.
During the governor’s announcement on Wednesday, Sisolak said that under the Biden administration, the county has been allotted more vaccines that should be arriving to the state soon, however there have been delays due to winter storms in the southwest.
As of Wednesday, over 92,000 vaccines have been administered in Washoe County. About 6.5% of Washoe County’s population has been fully vaccinated. The health district alone has administered over 37,000 to date.
“The fact that we have people getting vaccinated now is great news but we are nowhere near the percentages that we need to get vaccinated,” said Dick. “The potential for additional surges and deaths is a very real reality for us and we need to continue to be careful.”
Dick also urged the community to help out by assisting seniors with navigating the vaccine process.
Sign up for the senior wait list at https://washoecountynv.seamlessdocs.com/f/SeniorCovid19Vaccine.
Seniors 65 and older can get more information on getting the vaccine at https://www.covid19washoevaccine.com/pages/senior-vaccine.
On Monday, Nevada’s statewide “pause” ended allowing businesses such as restaurants, bars and gyms among other businesses to operate at 35% capacity and some such as libraries and recreation centers to bump to 50% capacity. Even more capacity for businesses will be allowed beginning March. 15.
Currently, 67% of staffed hospital beds are currently occupied, this number hasn’t changed in the last two weeks and 43% of all Intensive Care Unit beds are in use.
The county has had 633 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. There are 10 individuals currently in the ICU which is down by over half from last week.
In Incline Village, 401 total cases have been reported and 75 remain active. Crystal Bay has three active cases.
Douglas County has no residents currently in the ICU and has had 33 cumulative COVID-19 related deaths in the county.
Carson City has had 111 individuals who have succumbed to the virus, which is up one from last week. The county has 1 patient in the ICU and there are 8 COVID-19 hospitalizations.
There are a total of 4,805 Nevadans who have died from the virus since the beginning of the pandemic. The state has 698 residents hospitalized with 173 in the ICU.
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