Tag Archives: Bay Area

Solano and other Bay Area Counties – detailed tracking of status on State COVID watchlist

[NOTE: Details on Solano County below.]

Coronavirus:  How close are Bay Area counties to coming off state monitoring list?

Santa Clara and San Mateo are nearing the threshold

Vallejo Times-Herald, by Evan Webeck and Harriet Rowan, 8/6/20

It’s been close to a month since Gov. Gavin Newsom announced additional restrictions for counties on the state’s COVID-19 monitoring list. In that time, the list has grown to encompass every county in the Bay Area and over 90% of the state’s population.

Is there anywhere in the Bay Area close to escaping the list? We’re tracking the metrics county-by-county below, using data compiled by this news organization. Currently, hospitalizations are trending in the right direction in most of the region, but there isn’t one county that meets the per-capita case threshold necessary to come off the list, according to our calculations.

San Mateo County, with a rate of 12.5 cases per 10,000 residents over the past two weeks, is closest to falling below the state threshold of 10, followed by Santa Clara County, with a per-capita rate of 13.9 per 10,000.

The California Department of Public Health uses six criterion to determine if there is elevated disease transmission, increasing hospitalizations or limited hospital capacity in a county.

  1. Testing rate: Below 1.5 per 1,000 population per day over past 7 days
  2. Case rate: Above 10 per 10,000 population over the past 14 days
  3. Positivity rate: 8% or higher over past 7 days if 14-day case rate is less than 10 but higher than 2.5 per 10,000
  4. Hospitalizations: Increase of 10% or more in 3-day average vs. previous 3 days
  5. ICU capacity: 20% or less beds available
  6. Ventilator capacity: 25% or less ventilators available

Falling out of line with any one of the six metrics for three days lands a county on the list. To come off, a county has to meet all six markers for three straight days.

Under the most recent health order, counties on the monitoring list for three days are also forced to close gyms, personal-care services, nonessential offices, places of worship and malls in addition to the statewide closures of bars, indoor dining and other indoor entertainment. To be eligible to open schools for in-person learning, a county must be off the list for 14 days.

Note: CDPH uses a 7-day lag when tracking its data, while this news organization compiles the most up-to-date data from county health departments. Recently discovered underreporting of tests and cases could skew the data. Because of the faulty data, CDPH has temporarily paused adding or subtracting counties from the monitoring list. There is no standardized number of ICUs and ventilators per county publicly available, so that data is not included below.

Alameda

population: 1.67 million

Cases per 10,000 (past 14 days): 15.7 (+6.6% since previous 14-day period)

Positivity rate (past 7 days): 3.7%

Hospitalizations (past 3 days, average): 194.3 (-2.5% since previous 3-day period)

Contra Costa

population: 1.15 million

Cases per 10,000 (past 14 days): 15.3 (-14.5% since previous 14-day period)

Positivity rate (past 7 days): 12.32%

Hospitalizations (past 3 days, average): 98.3 (-5.7% since previous 3-day period)

Marin

population: 263,000

Cases per 10,000 (past 14 days): 31.0 (-43.7% since previous 14-day period)

Positivity rate (past 7 days): 15.86%

Hospitalizations (past 3 days, average): 23.3 (-10.4% since previous 3-day period)

Napa

population: 140,000

Cases per 10,000 (past 14 days): 21.5 (+22.9% since previous 14-day period)

Positivity rate (past 7 days): 11.24%

Hospitalizations (past 3 days, average): 8.3 (-28.8% since previous 3-day period)

San Francisco

population: 884,000

Cases per 10,000 (past 14 days): 19.7 (+22.9% since previous 14-day period)

Positivity rate (past 7 days): 2.96%

Hospitalizations (past 3 days, average): 93 (-9.4% since previous 3-day period)

San Mateo

population: 775,000

Cases per 10,000 (past 14 days): 12.5 (-11% since previous 14-day period)

Positivity rate (past 7 days): 7.16%

Hospitalizations (past 3 days, average): 55.7 (-0.1% since previous 3-day period)

Santa Clara

population: 1.95 million

Cases per 10,000 (past 14 days): 13.9 (-4.9% since previous 14-day period)

Positivity rate (past 7 days): 7.48%

Hospitalizations (past 3 days, average): 175.7 (-5.7% since previous 3-day period)

Solano

population: 441,000

Cases per 10,000 (past 14 days): 19.3 (-21.5% since previous 14-day period)

Positivity rate (past 7 days): 15.33%

Hospitalizations (past 3 days, average): 45.3 (+7.1% since previous 3-day period)

Sonoma

population: 501,000

Cases per 10,000 (past 14 days): 19.8 (+27.3 since previous 14-day period)

Positivity rate (past 7 days): 12.42%

Hospitalizations (past 3 days, average): 41.7 (-5.2% since previous 3-day period)

Here’s who is trying to evade COVID-19 shutdown rules

Individuals and industries with dubious justifications rush to claim entitlement to special ‘essential’ status

The Mercury News, by Daniel Borenstein, April 4, 2020
Operators of Golden Gate Fields racetrack prioritized people’s ability to play the ponies rather than the public health – until the Alameda County district attorney on Thursday ordered the operation shut down. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

Essential means essential.

We are under orders to stay home. But there are exceptions. These are generally the functions that we need to keep people fed, healthy, housed and informed, and to maintain a minimal level of government and critical public services.

For Bay Area county health orders, and for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s separate statewide directive, the goal is to preserve “essential” services. Similarly, President Donald Trump’s nonbinding coronavirus guidelines make exceptions for critical infrastructure industries.

Now, we’re seeing individuals and industries rushing with dubious justifications to claim that special status. Come on, folks. This has got to stop. We are in the middle of a pandemic that could kill millions around the world, including an estimated 100,000 to 240,000 people in the United States.

Bay Area and state health officials have had to make tough choices. For our own health, and that of everyone else in the region, state, nation and world, we must respect those decisions.

We must use common sense.

Without widespread and effective testing that would allow identification of those infected, the only way to slow the spread of the coronavirus is self-isolation across the nation and the world. Just because you’re feeling fine doesn’t mean that you’re healthy – up to 25% of infected people don’t show symptoms.

Which is why it’s so appalling that, as of Thursday, 12 states still had no statewide orders to stay home. And some leaders show stunning ignorance of the threat.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp finally issued a stay-at-home order on Wednesday, but only after claiming that he just learned about asymptomatic carriers of the virus, something health officials had been warning about for two months.

Wisconsin plans to hold its primary election on Tuesday, but its Republican-controlled Legislature has refused the Democratic governor’s request that all voters be automatically mailed ballots so they can vote at home.

Meanwhile, in the Bay Area, which led the nation with its shelter orders, we’re smarter than that. But it’s critical that everyone follows the rules. And stop trying to wiggle out of them. We’re talking about:

• Firearms dealers who filed a federal lawsuit claiming they have a Second Amendment right to stay open. Apparently, they haven’t noticed that the First Amendment rights to peaceably assemble have also been jettisoned. During a global health crisis, there’s no essential need to purchase weapons, even if Trump seems to think there is.

• A Lodi church that refuses to end services, claiming First Amendment rights to exercise religion. Members of Cross Culture Christian Center should consider what happened at Bethany Slavic Missionary Church near Rancho Cordova, where, according to the Sacramento Bee, 71 members have contracted the virus, one parishioner has died and the bishop and other church officials have been hospitalized.

• Operators of Golden Gate Fields racetrack who prioritized people’s ability to play the ponies rather than the public health – until the Alameda County district attorney on Thursday ordered the operation shut down.

• Attorneys for Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, who asked a federal judge to deem them an essential service so they could serve subpoenas and interact with witnesses before her criminal fraud trial, scheduled to start this summer. The judge, in a teleconference hearing, wasn’t buying it.

• Labor leaders for the Bay Area construction trades, who want to keep working. The Bay Area health orders allow limited construction for critical public services, affordable housing and other essential reasons. But that’s not good enough for the members of the local and state Building and Construction Trades Council, who insist they’re better at sanitizing and social distancing than other occupations.

This is hard. People are making huge sacrifices, including often their jobs and income. But we must all put the common good ahead of our personal interests – as difficult as that might be in many cases. People’s lives depend on it.

The more exceptions to the health orders, the more the coronavirus will travel, the more our hospitals will be overwhelmed and the more people will die. It’s that simple.

How Solano County’s COVID-19 Dashboard compares to other counties in Bay Area

[Editor: Peter Khoury ranks Solano County’s excellent COVID-19 Dashboard 3rd among the Bay Area’s 9 counties.  He also points out areas for improvement.  Read through to the end for Khoury’s call to action.  – R.S.]

A ranking of Bay Area Counties’ COVID-19 Dashboards

Phoenix Data Project, by Peter Khoury, April 2, 2020

The link article from the Harvard Business Review discusses Lessons from Italy’s response to Coronavirus. In particular they cite the need for lots of data, the need for micro-scale data, and the need for data standardization. The Bay Area is largely falling flat on all of these fronts. I rank the Bay Area counties’ dashboards below, but really they should all be unified displaying lots of consistent high quality information on all of them. At the bottom of the rankings I tell you how to take action.

These rankings are a tongue in cheek way to motivate / shame counties to improve the state of their information and communication with the public. However ideally the counties would all coordinate with each other and unify their information so that we can see trends across the entire Bay Area.


1st Place Santa Clara County

santa_clara_new_hospital_dashboard.png

Santa Clara’s dashboard shot up in the rankings from 6th previously to 1st because it is not just one dashboard it is three. I’ve shown here to the left my favorite of the three, the hospital dashboard. This includes such vital information such as ventilators available and breaks down bed availability into acute beds and ICU beds. The graphs on the righthand side of the dashboard will show evolution of hospital resources over time. Really quality really excellent information.

Two additional asks which would make it even better. Create an API or easy way to download the data. Split the hospitalized patients into age groups like Solano county does.

https://www.sccgov.org/sites/phd/DiseaseInformation/novel-coronavirus/Pages/dashboard.asp


2nd Place Sonoma County

sonoma_dashboard.png

Sonoma County’s dashboard excels. It has

  • hospitalization numbers

  • the number of tests being run

  • the date the data was collected

  • cases by county region

  • the information in text form (if desired)

https://sonomacounty.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=21a1653b79ba42039ff22bcb85fa5b19


3rd Place Solano County

solano_dashboard.png

Solano county promises to have much of the information Sonoma county does but isn’t quite there yet.

The one thing Solano county deserves credit for is separating the cases by age into hospitalized and non-severe. This will be incredibly useful information going forward. I would encourage Solano county to further separate out the 19-64 year old age ranges.

https://doitgis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6c83d8b0a564467a829bfa875e7437d8


4th Place Contra Costa County

contra_costa_new_dashboard.png

Contra Costa County added information about testing and hospitalizations to their website. They’re also displaying the information as evolving over time which is good. There could be much more information at a finer granularity but its definitely good progress.

https://www.coronavirus.cchealth.org


5th Place Marin County

marin_dashboard.png

Not nearly as good as the Solano and Sonoma but they are still providing hospitalization numbers. Their display of information could use a lot of work.

https://coronavirus.marinhhs.org/sites/default/files/2020-04/covid-19-status-update-4-1-2020-final.pdf


6th Place tie Napa and San Mateo County

san_mateo_dashboard.png

San Mateo isn’t really providing much more than a case count and deaths. They do have this broken down by age but unlike the Solano county data the age breakdown doesn’t give me much additional useful information.

It does show the cases growing exponentially.

https://www.smchealth.org/coronavirus

napa_county_new.png

Napa county doesn’t break down the cases by age but it does breakdown the cases by area.

https://legacy.livestories.com/s/v2/coronavirus-report-for-napa-county-ca/9065d62d-f5a6-445f-b2a9-b7cf30b846dd/


7th Place San Francisco

san_francisco_dashboard.png

These are fixed numbers of cases and deaths with no sense of the growing crisis or the exponential growth of the virus.

https://www.sfdph.org/dph/alerts/coronavirus.asp


Last Place Joint Alameda and the City of Berkeley

alameda_dashboard.png

The Alameda county website is incredibly flawed because of the “* Numbers exclude City of Berkeley cases.” I mean come on guys this is a local, regional, state, national, and global health emergency and Alameda County and the city of Berkeley can’t coordinate with each other?


Take Action

I have found that the best way to improve your local county’s dashboard is to start calling your local politicians and to get your friends to call your local politicians. If you do not live in the Bay Area, go to your local county’s COVID-19 website and place it in these rankings. If you find it lacking, demand more information. At a minimum the website should have the information in bold.

    • COVID-19 Hospitalizations

    • Hospital beds available

    • ICU Beds available

    • Total number of tests conducted (this counts tests run multiple times on one person)

    • Total number of test conducted on unique individuals

    • Total number of tests that were positive for COVID-19

Bay Area COVID-19 curve is relatively flat, while Solano County is spiking?

Solano County coronavirus cases, April 3, 2020
[Editor: So the “Bay Area” curve is remaining relatively flat, while Solano is curving dramatically upward?  Someone should do a comparison chart showing all 9 Bay Area counties.  – R.S.]

Bay Area curve stays flattened, UCSF Emergency Room stays quiet

broke-ass stuart, by Alex Mak, March 30, 2020

As confirmed cases of COVID-19 surge in other cities in the US, the Bay Area is experiencing an incredibly low rate of new cases by comparison.  For example, as of March 30th, New York City has 33,768 confirmed COVID-19 cases while San Francisco has 340 confirmed cases.

USA COVID-19 confirmed cases heat map, March 30 2020: coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

We followed up with our UCSF Emergency Room contact; Dr. Nathan Teismann, to ask about current and new COVID-19 cases in his ER, as well as the state of his fellow staff at the hospital, and his colleagues in the greater Bay Area.  Dr. Teismann assured us that his ER was still relativity quiet over the weekend, seeing approximately half of the patients it usually sees on a normal weekend.  (these figures are consistent with those BAS reported 3.25.20)

Dr Teismann: “Over the weekend, we typically see around 200 patients per day in the ER, and this weekend we saw less than half of that volume, approximately 80-90 people we’re seen on Saturday, about half of those patients came in because of symptoms suspected of being COVID-19.”

When asked about the state of other hospitals in the Bay Area the Doctor replied, “My colleagues at Stanford, as well as at other facilities in San Francisco report much of the same conditions in their hospitals.  For now, the rate of new confirmed, infections showing up in Emergency rooms is not unmanageable.”

I asked the doctor if he believed that our early ‘shelter in place policy’ was having an effect, Dr. Teismann replied, “It seems very likely, that the ‘shelter in place’ policy has had a significant, positive effect on containing the spread of COVID-19 in the Bay Area.”

He followed with, “We are obviously not capturing the true prevalence of infected people in the Bay Area, because so many who may have been infected are staying home and therefore will not ever be ‘confirmed’ cases of COVID-19.”

Most of the confirmed cases across the world are confirmed because the patients had severe symptoms, that is why they went to the the hospital in the first place.  Since roughly 80% of people with COVID-19 have very mild symptoms, they end up staying home and letting the virus run its course, without adding to the statistics.

The true rate of infections throughout the Bay Area is obviously much higher than can be tested, but severe cases are still low, and as of yet, not growing exponentially like they are in New Orleans or New York.  Sheltering in place, seems to be bending the curve of infections in a major way.  Nationally of course, we are not fairing as well.  Dr.  Teismann was quick to warn me that the ‘top of the curve’ is yet to come.  He sent me the projected peak of coronavirus patients from the IHME at the University of Washington, which projects that nationally, April 15th will be the beginning of the peak of hospital bed capacity for COVID-19 patients in the USA.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is an independent population health research center at UW Medicine, part of the University of Washington, see all of there projections by visiting: http://covid19.healthdata.org/

What does that mean for you?  It means that social distancing and staying home is the right thing to do.  By staying home, and restricting your contact with others, also known as ‘social distancing’, is having an incredibly positive effect on ‘flattening the curve’.   By preventing the spread of COVID-19 you are quite literally saving lives in your community, and although we are far from the end of this pandemic, take heart that the sacrifices you are making by staying home and not becoming infected, are helping our medical professionals deal with this outbreak immensely.

The good news for San Franciscans
Businesses in SF started limiting service in the second week of March, and the official order to shutter all non-essential businesses in 6 Bay Area counties, and for citizens to shelter in place was given on March 16th, but by then the majority of workers and businesses had already stopped operations.  As of today, March 30th, it has been over 14 days since large crowds stopped congregating and the circulation of the virus has been greatly impeded.  Since most cases of COVID-19 last around 14 days, if we were going to see a massive surge of infections, the odds are we would have seen them by now in our Emergency rooms.  For now, this is good news, we have been incredibly fortunate that our government and business owners acted quickly and decisively to help slow the spread of the virus.

A message from your local healthcare providers 
Dr Teismann wanted to add that at USCF there has seen an incredible outpouring of kindness, well wishes and donations from the local community.  Everything from free meals from local restaurants delivered to the hospital staff, to artwork made by local elementary school students and hung in the hospital break room.  There have been phone calls and well-wishes from patients and neighbors to the hospital, and that positive outpouring has had a wonderful and positive effect on healthcare workers.

Stay safe, stay home San Francisco.  And if you would like to thank our medical professionals think about joining the sunset applause tonight, and every night, at 7pm.  Cheer and applaud from your window or balcony to thank those shouldering the burden during this pandemic!

We will keep publishing updates, and remember, we still have a long way to go.

* If you think you have been exposed to COVID‑19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.