In Solano, COVID cases are slowing some, but still spreading at CDC-defined SUBSTANTIAL rate

By Roger Straw, Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Wednesday, October 20: Solano County reports only 51 new infections but remains in the CDC’s SUBSTANTIAL 7-day transmission rate.  Benicia moves down from the HIGH 7-day transmission rate – but still in SUBSTANTIAL transmission.

Solano County COVID dashboard SUMMARY:
[Sources: see below.]

DEATHS: Solano reported no new COVID-related deaths today.  The County has reported 45 COVID deaths just since Sept 1.  A total of 315 Solano residents have died of COVID or COVID-related causes over the course of the pandemic.

CASES: The County reported only 51 new COVID cases over the weekend, 25 per day.  AGES: only 6 of these 51 cases were youth and children under 18.  28 were age 18-49, 15 were age 50-64, and only 4 were 65+.

COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION RATE: Over the last 7 days, Solano has seen SUBSTANTIAL community transmission, with 274 new cases.  Good news is that this is down from 430 at last report.  CDC FORMULA: Based on Solano County’s population, 450 cases in 7 days would move Solano up into the CDC’s population-based definition of a HIGH transmission rate, and we would need to drop below 225 cases in 7 days to rate as having only MODERATE community transmission.

ACTIVE CASES: Solano’s 342 ACTIVE cases is up from Monday’s 284, and still far above our summer rates.

CASES BY CITY on Wednesday, October 20:

    • Benicia added 9 new cases today, a total of 1,516 cases since the outbreak began.  TRANSMISSION RATE: Benicia has seen 25 new cases over the last 7 days, dropping out of the CDC’s definition of HIGH community transmission (defined as 28 or more cases, based on Benicia population – SEE CHART BELOW).  [Note that Solano County is currently experiencing SUBSTANTIAL transmission.

    • Dixon added 0 new cases today, total of 2,525 cases.
    • Fairfield added 16 new cases today, total of 12,142 cases.
    • Rio Vista was reported at 2 fewer cases today (?!), total of 597 cases.
    • Suisun City added 2 new cases today, total of 3,205 cases.
    • Vacaville added 13 new cases today, a total of 11,894 cases.
    • Vallejo added 13 new cases today, a total of 13,291 cases.
    • Unincorporated added 0 new cases today, a total of 139 cases (population figures not available).

POSITIVE TEST RATE:  Solano’s 7-day average percent positivity rate was 4.6% today, up from Monday’s 3.0%.  (These numbers are so low!  Let’s hope we continue at this low rate….)  COMPARE: today’s California rate is 1.4% and today’s U.S. rate is 5.3%[Source: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Tracking Center]

HOSPITALIZATIONS:

CURRENT hospitalizations were down today from 47 to 44 persons, still far above the range we saw during last summer.

ICU Bed Availability is still in the yellow danger zone today, but up from only 11% on Monday to 20% today.  We remain in the worrisome range we saw during last winter’s surge.

Ventilator Availability is down today from 61% to 57%, and still in the range of last winter’s surge.

TOTAL hospitalizations: Solano County’s TOTAL hospitalized over the course of the pandemic must be independently discovered in the County’s occasional update of hospitalizations by Age Group and by Race/Ethnicity.  The County did not update its Hospitalizations charts today.  Total COVID hospitalizations in Solano remain at 2,838 since the beginning of the outbreak.

FACE MASKS… Required for all in Benicia and Vallejo

Benicia City Council passed a citywide indoors mask mandate that went into effect on August 24 and includes everyone 4 years old and up when indoors in public places, even those of us who are vaccinated.  Benicia was joined by Vallejo on August 31.  In the Bay Area, Solano County REMAINS the only holdout against a mask mandate for public indoors spaces.

SOLANO COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS failed to consider an agendized proposal for a countywide MASK MANDATE on Tuesday, September 14.  Recent Bay Area news put Solano in a sad light: all other county health officers issued a joint statement offering details on when they would be able to lift mask mandates (not likely soon).  TV news anchors had to point out that Solano would not be considering such a move since our health officer had not been able to “justify” a mask mandate in the first place.  The Solano Board of Supervisors has joined with Dr. Bela Matyas in officially showing poor leadership on the COVID-19 pandemic.


HOW DOES TODAY’S REPORT COMPARE?  See recent reports and others going back to April 20, 2020 on my ARCHIVE of daily Solano COVID updates (an excel spreadsheet).


>>The data on this page is from the Solano County COVID-19 Dashboard.  The Dashboard is full of much more information and updated Monday, Wednesday and Friday around 4 or 5pm.  On the County’s dashboard, you can hover a mouse or click on an item for more information.  Note the tabs at top for “Summary, Demographics” and “Vaccines.”  Click here to go to today’s Solano County Dashboard.


Sources

City of Benicia This Week: COVID Vaccine Clinics offering 1st, 2nd shots & boosters

COVID Mass Vaccine Clinics

Solano County Public Health announces mass vaccination clinics now operating Wednesday-Saturday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Solano County Fairgrounds. Clinics are expected to be operational for a total of 8 weeks, until mid-December, with closures the week of November 3 – 6 and again November 24 – 27 for the Thanksgiving Holiday.

To make an appointment for the vaccination clinic, eligible residents can sign up to for their Pfizer booster or their first/second dose with the Pfizer vaccine online at https://vax.phast-vax-ca.org/en-US/. Details on Moderna booster vaccines will be available soon.

Those requiring registration assistance may call 800.672.0150.

Click the image or HERE for details.

MORE COVID ASSISTANCE: CITY OF BENICIA THIS WEEK NEWSLETTER

SF Chronicle on COVID vaccine exemptions: unvaccinated people put young children at risk

Editorial: Vaccine mandates work. But not if California gives fake ‘personal belief exemptions’ a pass

San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Board, Oct. 17, 2021
Lower doses of vaccine work for children.

In January 2015, an outbreak of measles that started at Disneyland in Anaheim spread across California and eventually throughout North America. All told, the virus made its way to seven U.S. states, Mexico and Canada, infecting 159 people, the vast majority of whom were unvaccinated.

A Center for Disease Control and Prevention study of the Americans who were infected found that most were either too young to receive a vaccine or declined to be vaccinated, citing personal reasons. The natural conclusion was that unvaccinated people put young children at risk. And that “personal belief exemptions” from vaccine mandates can be dangerous loopholes that empower irrational objections to inoculation and endanger public health.

In the aftermath of this outbreak and several others in California, state Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, a pediatrician, introduced legislation to crack down on lax personal belief and medical exemptions for otherwise mandatory school vaccinations. That bill, SB277, received huge pushback from the burgeoning anti-vax movement, with actress Jenny McCarthy among others, stirring up opposition. But the effort was eventually victorious; it is now very difficult in California for parents to get their kids a medical or personal exemption from traditional childhood immunizations for 10 serious illnesses (such as polio) without legitimate reasons.

Just because your kid is allergic to cats doesn’t mean they’re allergic to vaccines. They need to get their shots.

And yet concessions made to pass the bill now have implications for COVID. SB277 did not anticipate future outbreaks of new diseases that would require vaccination. As such, the law includes an amendment that allows the governor and public authorities to unilaterally issue new vaccine mandates “only if exemptions are allowed for both medical reasons and personal beliefs.”

And so, with COVID exemptions, we’re effectively back to square one. Gov. Gavin Newsom and his public health authorities can (and did) mandate Food and Drug Administration-approved COVID shots as a prerequisite for attending in-person schooling. But removing the same specious personal belief and medical exemptions that we did in 2016 will require the Legislature to act.

It should. Californians have already proven themselves adept at exploiting the old exemptions. And the incoherent opposition to safe and effective vaccines, sadly, is now stronger with backers who are far more formidable than McCarthy.

All indications are that COVID will become endemic, meaning it will be with us in one form or another in perpetuity. While this sounds terrifying, it doesn’t have to be. Vaccines can protect us from serious COVID illness and death. But none of us are born immune. Just like with measles and polio, each passing generation will need to be inoculated. Without vaccines, this virus will continue to kill. Which is why mandating shots for the young is so essential.

Schools are the logical place for society to make its stand and stop COVID’s deadly rampage for good. Everyone is entitled to an education, but vaccination is an appropriate exchange. Moreover, the current status quo of constant testing and quarantines is unsustainable.

“Think about how much schools are spending on COVID control,” says Pan. “Those are resources pulled away from primary education. Vaccinating kids means less spending on COVID control and more on their education.”

The Legislature is out of session until 2022. But when it returns, amending state public health laws for the COVID-era will be imperative. California doesn’t just need to pave the way for mass COVID vaccinations, it needs to give public health authorities the flexibility they need to deal with future emergencies.

What happens when a new pandemic arises that requires a new vaccine? The legislative process takes time. And in public health emergencies, time is too precious to waste fighting the Jenny McCarthys of the world.

The Pfizer COVID vaccine is now fully approved by the FDA for people age 16 and over. Emergency authorization for kids 12-15 is in effect, and it could be granted for kids age 5-11 by Halloween.

Vaccine mandates work. They can and will help neuter COVID and keep it from re-emerging as a deadly threat. They can do the same for future infectious diseases where safe and effective vaccines are made available. But danger will linger if California doesn’t put a permanent stop to the fake excuses for avoiding vaccines.


This commentary is from The Chronicle’s editorial board. We invite you to express your views in a letter to the editor. Please submit your letter via our online form: SFChronicle.com/letters.

Benicia Herald: COVID-19 data from Solano County and the State show large discrepancy in deaths

COVID-19 data from Solano County and the State show large discrepancy in deaths

The Benicia Herald, by Galen Kusic, Editor, October 17, 2021
[Print edition only, link not available. Subscribe to the print edition at beniciacirculation@gmail.com or phone 707-745-6838.  MORE]

As it appears a fourth wave of COVID-19 has begun to dissipate throughout the country, numbers remain alarmingly high in Solano County compared to the greater Bay Area.

The current 5.4 percent positivity rate is the best in months, but there are still 40 patients hospitalized and only 13 percent of ICU beds are available. The most alarming trend is the uptick in deaths, with 312 – an increase of 22 since Sept. 24, an average of one per day.

Yet what may be even more alarming is the discrepancy of deaths reported from the state and the county. As of Fri. Oct. 15, the state of Calif. reports that Solano County has a total of 334 deaths since the pandemic began – a difference of 22 deaths. The state also reports that the positivity rate is only 2.4 percent, half of what Solano County currently reports.

The first round of mass vaccination clinics recently started at the Solano County Fairgrounds for Pfizer booster shots or for those that have still not received the vaccine.

“78 percent of those testing positive in Solano County are unvaccinated,” said Solano County Supervisor Monica Brown. “Getting vaccinated protects you, protects your family, protects your community, protects our businesses, protects everyone.”

In Benicia, cases have slowed, but stayed steady. With 84.7 percent of the population vaccinated, only Rio Vista has a higher vaccination rate in the County at 89.3 percent. Vallejo (83.1) and Dixon (80.2) are not far behind. Since Sept. 24, Benicia has recorded 84 new cases, an average of four cases per day, a slight uptick from three weeks ago for a total of 1,496 since the pandemic began.

The City of Benicia on Mon. implemented a vaccine mandate for City employees. As of three weeks ago, only 62 percent of the Benicia Fire Department had been vaccinated.

“Those not vaccinated will be required to be tested weekly and wear a mask while indoors at City facilities,” said City Manager Erik Upson in his weekly update. “We did not step into this lightly, but felt it was needed to help protect the safety of our staff and our community.”

For safe and healthy communities…