A COVID-19 Mystery in Benicia / Solano County

By Roger Straw, Friday, February 22, 2021

Solano reports positivity test rate cut by more than half!

Today’s Solano County COVID dashboard update is in at least one way incomprehensible.  Take a look at the  percent positive test result below, and compare it to yesterday’s report.  This is a 7-day average.  How on earth does a 7-day average drop by more than half overnight?  Yesterday an average of 12.4% of those tested were positive.  Today – on average over 6 of those same 7 days – we are to understand that only 5.9% tested positive.  No way.  The formula must’ve changed, or there’s been an error.  I guess we can only wait and see what is posted tomorrow.

All we get is a chart with numbers.  Without further explanation, the County’s dashboard leaves us mystified.

Needless to say, the same goes for total COVID deaths today, which included 161 of our neighbors, family members and friends yesterday, but only 160 today.  Eh?  Surely there’s an explanation?

The following is a somewhat abbreviated report:

Tuesday, February 23: 23 new Solano cases overnight, no new deaths.  Since February 2020: 29,882 cases, over 875 hospitalized, 160 deaths.Compare previous report, Monday, February 22Summary

[Sources: see below.  Daily archive of my Solano updates: Excel ARCHIVE
    • CASES – Solano County reported 23 new cases overnight, a total of 29,882 cases since the outbreak started.
    • DEATHS – without explanation, the County reported one fewer death today.  A total of 160 Solano residents have died with COVID since the pandemic began.  38 COVID deaths were reported here in Solano County just since February 1.  COMPARE: In the month of January, Solano recorded a total of 24 coronavirus deaths.  Combining the two months to date, a total of 62 deaths, or 39% of Solano’s 160 COVID deaths occurred since January 1!  While many other COVID stats are improving, the recent surge in deaths is no doubt the final sad result of our holiday surge.  And we may see another surge in cases and deaths following the Super Bowl.
Positive Test Rate: Supposedly only 5.9% – down by more than half!

Solano County reported our 7-day average positive test was cut by more than half overnight, down to 5.9% from 12.4% yesterday.  It seems totally unlikely for a 7-day average to drop so precipitously overnight.  If it can be believed, Solano has come in under the State’s purple/red tier threshold of 8%.  Even so, DON’T EXPECT A QUICK MOVE DOWN TO THE RED TIER: the State requires a county to meet criteria for the next less restrictive tier (in test rate measures AND case rate measures) for the prior two consecutive weeks in order to progress to the next tier.  The much lower and more stable California 7-day average test rate remained at 3.0% today, same as yesterday(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.) 

By Age Group
  • Youth 17 and under – only 2 new cases overnight, total of 3,496 cases, representing 11.7% of the 29,882 total cases.  No new hospitalizations were reported today among this age group, total of 18 since the outbreak began.  Thankfully, no deaths have ever been reported in Solano County in this age groupBut 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 remained at over 11% since September 30.  Youth are 22% of Solano’s general population, so this 11% may seem low.  The significance is this: youth are SERIOUSLY NOT IMMUNE (!) – in fact at least 18 of our youth have been hospitalized since the outbreak began.
  • Persons 18-49 years of age – only 9 new cases overnight, total of 16,478 cases. This age group is 41% of the population in Solano, but represents 55.2% 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 245 are reported to have been hospitalized since the outbreak began.  Solano recorded no new deaths in this young group today, total of 10 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 – only 6 new cases overnight, total of 6,242 cases.  This age group represents 20.9% of the 29,882 total cases.  The County reported no new hospitalizations among persons in this age group today, a total of 234 reported to have been hospitalized since the outbreak began.  No new deaths were reported in this age group today, a total of 26 deaths.
  • Persons 65 years or older – only 6 new cases overnight, total of 3,655, representing 12.2% of Solano’s 29,882 total cases.  The County reported 1 new hospitalization among persons in this age group today, a total of 381 hospitalized since the outbreak began.  No new deaths were  reported in this age group today.  A total of 125 of our elders have died of COVID, accounting for 78% of Solano’s 161 total deaths.
City Data
  • Benicia added 2 new cases overnight, total of 845 cases since the outbreak began.
  • Dixon added 2 new cases overnight, total of 1,749 cases.
  • Fairfield added 5 new cases overnight, total of 8,127 cases.
  • Rio Vista remained steady today, total of 319 cases.
  • Suisun City added 2 new case overnight, total of 2,015 cases.
  • Vacaville added 8 new cases overnight, total of 7,874 cases.
  • Vallejo added 4 new cases overnight, total of 8,866 cases.
  • Unincorporated areas remained steady today, total of 87 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 12% of cases, 12% of hospitalizations, and 19% of deaths.
  • Black Americans are 14% of Solano’s population, and account for 11% of cases, but 17% of hospitalizations, and 19% of deaths.
  • Latinx Americans are 26% of Solano’s population, but account for 16% of cases, 21% of hospitalizations, and 12% of deaths.
  • Multi-race / Others are 7% of Solano’s population, but account for 33% of cases, 19% of hospitalizations, and 15% of deaths.
  • White Americans are 39% of the population in Solano County, but only account for 28% of cases, 31% of hospitalizations and 35% of deaths.

More…

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.

Source
Source: Solano County Coronavirus Dashboard (posted on the County website late today).  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.