De­spite virus spike, county not un­der scru­tiny

Lo­cal case counts don’t ex­ceed thresh­old for rolling back re­open­ing

Times Standard (Eureka) - - LOCAL NEWS - By So­nia Waraich swaraich@times-stan­dard.com So­nia Waraich can be reached at 707-441-0506.

Hum­boldt County’s re­cent spike in COVID-19 cases isn’t enough to trig­ger a rolling back of the econ­omy just yet, but the county could be added to a list of coun­ties the state is mon­i­tor­ing if case counts con­tinue to in­crease.

Nine­teen coun­ties, such as Or­ange County and Con­tra Costa County, are cur­rently be­ing mon­i­tored by the state be­cause of el­e­vated disease trans­mis­sion, in­creas­ing hos­pi­tal­iza­tions and/ or lim­ited hos­pi­tal ca­pac­ity be­cause of COVID-19. The state has re­quired seven of those coun­ties to close their bars and rec­om­mended an­other eight do the same, Gov. Gavin New­som said at a news con­fer­ence Mon­day.

“We’re ac­tively mon­i­tor­ing all 58 coun­ties in the state of Cal­i­for­nia, but we’re now tar­get­ing our mon­i­tor­ing in 19 coun­ties,” New­som said.

Bars and winer­ies were al­lowed to be­gin re­open­ing ear­lier this month, and only coun­ties that have been on the county’s mon­i­tor­ing list for over two weeks with­out see­ing im­prove­ment were man­dated to have their bars closed, New­som said.

Th­ese coun­ties crossed cer­tain thresh­olds of con­cern set by the state, such as hav­ing a COVID-19 pos­i­tiv­ity rate over 8% for a week and a 14-day case rate over 25 per 100,000 peo­ple. A case rate in ex­cess of 100 per 100,000 peo­ple for a two-week pe­riod by it­self would also get a county flagged for el­e­vated disease trans­mis­sion.

Hum­boldt County hasn’t yet reached those thresh­olds, ac­cord­ing to the state web­site, but it’s get­ting close. Hum­boldt County cur­rently has a con­firmed COVID-19 case rate of 98 per 100,000 peo­ple, though it is still lower than the state’s rate of 540 per 100,000 peo­ple and the coun­try’s rate of 778 per 100,000 peo­ple, ac­cord­ing to the county’s

COVID-19 dash­board as of 3 p.m. Tues­day.

The county’s pos­i­tiv­ity rate was 4% over the past week and it ex­pe­ri­enced a 12.7% in­crease in cases from the pre­vi­ous week, ac­cord­ing to the dash­board as of 3 p.m. Tues­day.

For com­par­i­son, Im­pe­rial County had a case rate of 696.1 per 100,000 peo­ple and a 22.5% pos­i­tiv­ity rate while Or­ange County had a case rate of 108.9 per 100,000 peo­ple and a 9.2% pos­i­tiv­ity rate, ac­cord­ing to data from the state Depart­ment of Pub­lic Health.

The num­bers rep­re­sent some­thing dif­fer­ent for each county, New­som said.

“You may see in­creases in cer­tain coun­ties may be pri­mar­ily be­cause of spread that ex­ists, for ex­am­ple, in a state prison,” New­som said. ” … Oth­ers have more generic com­mu­nity spread, just peo­ple mix­ing and not in ev­ery case wear­ing face cov­er­ings and not prac­tic­ing the so­cial dis­tanc­ing.”

Other cri­te­ria in­clude a 10% or more in­crease in the av­er­age num­ber of hos­pi­tal­ized COVID-19 pa­tients, hav­ing less than 20% of staffed in­ten­sive care unit beds avail­able or less than 25% of ven­ti­la­tors avail­able, ac­cord­ing to the state Depart­ment of Pub­lic Health web­site.

Hum­boldt County has 57 in­ten­sive care unit beds and 46 ven­ti­la­tors, ac­cord­ing to the county’s at­tes­ta­tion to the state to re­open.

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