Not just numbers…
By Roger Straw, December 9, 2020
I hope I’m providing a real service tracking the numbers. Sometimes I worry about it. I’m aware that too often the numbers hide the trauma, loss, fatigue and anxiety we are all feeling, not to mention the excruciating experiences of those who are hospitalized and ventilated or bereaved.
I track the numbers to tell the meta story, the big picture. You and I need to make our personal decisions with a sense of what conditions are like in our communities. Numerical trends are important, not only for regular folk like us, but also for those in positions of power and influence. I’m no scientist, but I know the importance of facts. Data tells a story that goes beyond the personal heartaches and travails that surround us these days. Pay attention to the numbers!
In this time of exploding numbers, NOW through mid-January at the least – please take extra precautions. Stay home as much as you can, and make plans now for a different kind of Christmas, Hanukah and New Year celebration. Wear a mask if you must go out, order groceries for pick-up or delivery, don’t stay long anywhere but home, and keep your distance more carefully than ever before.
Here are the Wednesday numbers – take note!
[Source: Solano County Coronavirus Dashboard (posted on the County website late today, around 8:45pm). For a complete archive of County updates, see my Excel ARCHIVE. ALSO see important daily updates from the state of California at COVID19.CA.GOV, embedded here on the BenIndy at Cases and Deaths AND Hospitalizations AND ICU Beds by REGION. Sorry, I can’t for the life of me explain the differences between Solano reporting and the State’s reporting….]
Wednesday, December 9: 173 (!) new cases overnight, no new deaths. Since Feb: 12,123 cases, more than 600 hospitalized, 90 deaths.Compare previous report, Tuesday, Dec. 8:Summary
- Solano County reported 173 (!) new cases overnight. As of today, Solano has seen an average of 140 new cases per day over the last 14 days! (source: covid19.ca.gov) Total of 12,123 cases since the outbreak started.
- Deaths – no new deaths reported today, total of 90 Solano deaths since the pandemic began.
- Active cases – Solano reported 75 more active cases today. New total of 1,238 active cases, – a record high for Solano County. Active cases have increased alarmingly lately – COMPARE: average number of Active Cases during October was 284, average in November was 650 – and TODAY we are at 1,238! Is the County equipped to contact trace so many infected persons? Who knows? To my knowledge, Solano has offered no reports on contact tracing.
- Hospitalizations – (For COVID19-CA.GOV info, see BenIndy page, COVID-19 Hospitalizations Daily Update for Solano County.) CAUTION ON COUNTY REPORTING: According to Solano Health Officer Dr. Bela Matyas, the County occasionally updates Age Group hospitalizations retroactively, adding substantial numbers. Thus, many hospitalizations are never reported as CURRENTLY hospitalized. Today, Solano County reported the number of CURRENTLY hospitalized persons increased by 4, total of 78, but TOTAL hospitalized since the outbreak began supposedly remained unchanged today, a total of 603 of all ages hospitalized since the outbreak began. The County will likely update these figures at a later date. [For my manual calculation of total hospitalizations, see age group stats below.]
- ICU Beds – (For COVID19-CA.GOV info see BenIndy page, COVID-19 Hospitalizations Daily Update for Solano County, and for REGIONAL data see COVID-19 ICU Bed Availability by REGION.) The County reported a slight increase in ICU beds available today, up from 30% to 32%, just out of the yellow danger zone.
- Testing – The County reports today that 636 residents were tested overnight, (dramatically down from yesterday’s record high of 5,720). A total of 141,408 unduplicated residents have now been tested for COVID-19 since the outbreak began. 31.6% of Solano County’s 447,643 residents (2019) have been tested.
Solano County reported another high 7-day average positive test rate today of 12.8%, barely down from yesterday’s 12.9%, far and away over the State’s purple tier threshold of 8%. Average percent positive test rates are among the best metrics for measuring community spread of the virus. The much lower and more stable California 7-day average test rate has also been on the rise lately, and down slightly today from yesterday’s 10.1% to 10.0%. (Note that Solano County displays past weeks and months in a 7-day test positivity line graph which also shows daily results. However, the chart does not display an accurate number of cases for the most recent days, as there is a lag time in receiving test results. The 7-day curve therefore also lags behind due to unknown recent test results.)
- Youth 17 and under – 18 new cases today, total of 1,367 cases, representing 11.3% of the 12,123 total cases. No new hospitalizations reported today among this age group. Thankfully, no deaths have ever been reported in Solano County in this age group. But cases among Solano youth rose steadily over the summer, from 5.6% of total cases on June 8 to 11% on August 31 and has plateaued at over 11% since September 30. Youth are 22% of Solano’s general population, so this 11.x% may seem low. The significance is this: youth are SERIOUSLY NOT IMMUNE (!) – in fact at least 14 of our youth have been hospitalized since the outbreak began.
- Persons 18-49 years of age – 95 (!) new cases today, total of 7,109 cases. This age group is 41% of the population in Solano, but represents just under 60% of the total cases, by far the highest percentage of all age groups. The County reported no new hospitalizations among persons in this age group today. A total of 194 have been hospitalized since the outbreak began. No new deaths in this young group today, total of 6 deaths. Some in this group are surely at high risk, as many are providing essential services among us, and some may be ignoring public health orders. I expect this group is a major factor in the spread of the virus.
- Persons 50-64 years of age – 39 new cases today, total of 2,372 cases. This age group represents nearly 20% of the 12,123 total cases. The County reported no new hospitalizations among persons in this age group today. A total of 162 have been hospitalized since the outbreak began. No new deaths in this age group today, a total of 16 deaths.
- Persons 65 years or older – 21 new cases today, total of 1,267, representing 10.5% of Solano’s 12,123 total cases. The County reported no new hospitalizations among persons in this age group today. A total of 233 have been hospitalized since the outbreak began. No new deaths were reported in this age group today. A total of 68 of our elders have died of COVID, accounting for 76% of Solano’s 90 total deaths.
- Benicia added 2 new cases today, total of 318 cases since the outbreak began.
- Dixon added 15 new cases today, total of 877 cases.
- Fairfield added 54 new cases today, total of 3,603 cases.
- Rio Vista added 5 new cases today, total of 105 cases.
- Suisun City added 10 new cases today, total of 839 cases.
- Vacaville added 49 new cases today, total of 2,553 cases.
- Vallejo added 37 new cases today, total of 3,785 cases.
- Unincorporated areas added 1 new case today, total of 43 cases.
Race / Ethnicity
The County report on race / ethnicity includes case numbers, hospitalizations, deaths and Solano population statistics. This information is discouragingly similar to national reports that indicate significantly worse outcomes among black and brown Americans. Note that all of this data surely undercounts Latinx Americans, as there is a large group of “Multirace / Others” which likely is composed mostly of Latinx members of our communities.
- Asian Americans are 14% of Solano’s population, and account for 10% of cases, 12% of hospitalizations, and 17% of deaths.
- Black Americans are 14% of Solano’s population, and account for 12% of cases, but 16% of hospitalizations, and 22% of deaths.
- Latinx Americans are 26% of Solano’s population, but account for 22% of cases, 26% of hospitalizations, and 17% of deaths.
- White Americans are 39% of the population in Solano County, but only account for 26% of cases, 28% of hospitalizations and 34% of deaths.
The County’s Coronavirus Dashboard is full of much more information, too extensive to cover here on a daily basis. The Benicia Independent will continue to summarize daily and highlight significant portions. For more, check out the Dashboard at https://doitgis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=055f81e9fe154da5860257e3f2489d67.