Tag Archives: California

COVID-19: As deaths spike, other curves begin to bend

Coronavirus: Near-record deaths in California, but cases keep going down

California averaging 543 deaths per day, but almost half the cases from 2 weeks ago
Source: Mercury News, Coronavirus Tracker
Vallejo Times-Herald, by Evan Webeck, January 27, 2021
[See also Benicia Independent: Solano deaths on January 26, 2021]

As California begins to turn the corner in the latest wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, fewer Californians are testing positive or hospitalized with the virus — but deaths, which can lag cases by up to four weeks, continue to come at a record pace.

On Tuesday, county health departments around the state combined to report California’s second-largest death toll on any single day of the pandemic — 735, according to data compiled by this news organization — but also half the infections from two weeks ago. With 22,247 new cases Tuesday, California is now averaging approximately 23,200 per day over the past week, 48% fewer than its peak just over two weeks ago. At 7.9%, the positivity rate over the past week in California fell to its lowest point since the first week of December, down from a high of over 14% earlier this month.

For interactive chart, see graph on Vallejo Times-Herald article, timesheraldonline.com/2021/01/27/coronavirus-near-record-deaths-in-california-but-cases-keep-going-down/

Now out from under the stay-at-home order, every region in the state has seen a decrease in cases, as well as hospitalizations, though Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley continue to report higher numbers on a per-capita basis than elsewhere in the state. Only four small counties have progressed beyond the purple reopening tier, though, and the statewide infection rate is still almost 10 times higher than anything past the “widespread” tier.

Across California, the number of COVID-19 patients receiving care in hospitals has fallen 20% in the past two weeks, and the number of those in ICUs is down 11%. Hospital capacity remains strained throughout much of the state — ICUs are still at surge capacity in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley and only 8.2% and 9.9% capacity in the Bay Area and Greater Sacramento, respectively — though every region is now projected to exceed 15% capacity in four weeks, according to the state’s models.

For now, though, the state is experiencing its deadliest period of the pandemic.

The only deadlier day in California than Tuesday came just five days earlier, and the total over the past week is higher than any other seven-day period of the pandemic. January alone has already accounted for a third of the casualties in California over the course of the entire pandemic.

The weekly death toll in California grew over 3,800 — an average of 543 per day — and the total for January rose over 12,000, on pace to double the previous monthly record, set the month prior. Over the course of the pandemic, 38,234 Californians have lost their lives to the virus. More than two in every three of those deaths have come in Southern California, but on Tuesday, the region was responsible for more than three in every four of the fatalities in California.

Seven counties in Southern California reported a combined 577 fatalities on Tuesday: 289 in Los Angeles, 113 in Riverside, 64 in Orange, 46 in San Diego, 41 in San Bernardino, 21 in Ventura and three in San Luis Obispo. The Bay Area on Tuesday totaled 72 fatalities between 10 counties within the region, including three with double-digit tallies: 30 in Santa Clara, 16 in San Mateo and 10 in Alameda.

On a per-capita basis, Southern California is still reporting cases at a rate that would still rank among the worst states, nationally, while the Bay Area, Greater Sacramento and Northern California have reduced their case loads to less than half that level.

Statewide, at about 58 daily cases per 100,000 residents over the past week, California has cut its infection rate nearly in half and now ranks below 12 other states. In Southern California, however, the daily infection rate over the past week was approximately 71.5/100K, and in the Bay Area, it was approximately 33.7/100K.


Evan Webeck, Reporter | Evan Webeck covers high-school sports on the field and beyond — and a little bit of everything else — for the Bay Area News Group. A Pacific Northwest native and graduate of Arizona State, Evan has previously worked for The Seattle Times, MLB.com and Sports Illustrated.

So we’re back in the COVID Purple Tier – what’s that mean exactly?

By Roger Straw, January 25, 2021

The COVID-19 Purple Tier Mandate – Details

IN A NUTSHELL…

REGIONAL STAY-AT-HOME ORDER LIFTED, SOLANO COUNTY RETURNS TO PURPLE TIER

Some significant changes resulting from Solano County’s return to the purple tier include:

      • Restaurants may offer outdoor dining
      • Hair salons, barbershops, and personal services may reopen
      • Outdoor social gatherings involving 25 or fewer people, from three or fewer different households, are now permitted

Remember: PLEASE CONTINUE to physical distance and wear face covering outside of the home.

MORE DETAIL:

Find the status for specific activities in your county: COVID19.CA.GOV

BELOW is a convenient SUMMARY CHART from California Department of Public Health (click on each image for larger, easily readable version).  For details on the “modifications” mentioned in the chart, you will need to go to the California Department of Public Health’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy framework.

Why the sudden improvement in our ICU bed numbers?

By Roger Straw, January 25, 2021

The surge hasn’t slowed in Solano and some other California locations, but more ICU beds don’t get us out of the “purple tier”

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows – Surrey Now-Leader

Something changed dramatically and suddenly in Solano County on Thursday, January 14, and the State seems to have followed suit lately.

Solano County reported the following percentage of ICU beds available during January.  Note the remarkable jump on January 14:

Date Total Confirmed Cases Daily or Weekend Δ ICU Beds Available
Monday, January 4, 2021 20,953 90 17.0%
Tuesday, January 5, 2021 21,223 270 20.0%
Wednesday, January 6, 2021 21,520 297 15.0%
Thursday, January 7, 2021 21,855 335 12.0%
Friday, January 8, 2021 22,232 377 4.0%
Monday, January 11, 2021 23,314 1,082 20.0%
Tuesday, January 12, 2021 23,554 240 5.0%
Wednesday, January 13, 2021 23,889 335 1.0%
Thursday, January 14, 2021 24,291 402 23.0%
Friday, January 15, 2021 24,654 363 23.0%
Tuesday, January 19, 2021 25,806 1,152 24.0%
Wednesday, January 20, 2021 25,983 177 28.0%
Thursday, January 21, 2021 26,191 208 20.0%
Friday, January 22, 2021 26,494 303 26.0%

According to the Fairfield Daily Republic on 1/14/21, Solano County Public Health Officer Dr. Bela Matyas said in a phone interview, “‘NorthBay has opened up additional ICU space and Kaiser and Sutter plan to.’”

My worst fear is that the COVID surge will rage on here in Solano County, and with more ICU beds now available, we will only fill them with those who become seriously ill with the virus.  It seems the State of California could do the same.  We may be lifting the strict stay-at-home order, but the purple tier restrictions are incredibly important.  We don’t want to fill those additional ICU beds!

What Is Happening With the Virus in California? For Now, Many Mixed Signals

Monday: Hospital capacity is increasing in some areas. The vaccine rollout is still chaotic.

People waiting in line at a super vaccination station set up in an empty department store in Chula Vista.
People waiting in line at a super vaccination station set up in an empty department store in Chula Vista. Mike Blake/Mike Blake

New York Times, By Jill Cowan, 1/25/21, 9:07 a.m. ET  (This article is part of the California Today newsletter. Sign up to get it delivered to your inbox.)

Good morning.

If you’re confused about the state of the virus in California, you’re not alone.

While California’s overall case numbers have been on the decline, hospitals in Southern California are still overwhelmed and experts worry that new variants of the virus — including one that researchers recently found in more than half of samples collected in Los Angeles — could threaten progress curbing Covid-19’s rampant spread.

[Compare coronavirus case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths across California with this map.]

In the Bay Area, intensive care unit capacity has risen to 23.4 percent, according to the state as of Sunday — well above the 15 percent threshold that triggered the stay-at-home order for the region. Yet the Sacramento area has just 11.9 percent intensive care unit capacity, and was allowed to exit the strict order more than a week ago.

Although The San Francisco Chronicle reported on Saturday that officials in the region were feeling hopeful that the order would be lifted soon, the state’s department of public health reported on Sunday that the Bay Area wasn’t eligible to have restrictions loosened based on its projections.

[See how full hospital intensive care units are near you.]

Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to make an announcement about lifting some restrictions in the state on Monday.

The Associated Press reported that Mr. Newsom’s administration has refused to disclose key data that would help explain the difference in approaches between the Bay Area and Sacramento.

In any case, the state hinted in a news release on Sunday that Sacramento may be required to re-enter the stay-at-home order, which would force many businesses to shut back down. (We can expect to get an update from state officials in coming days.)

And even after President Biden unveiled what experts have long said is a desperately needed national strategy for finally controlling the pandemic, there are still major hurdles in the vaccine rollout, which in California has contributed to continuing chaos, in which vaccine eligibility rules have been implemented differently county by county.

As CalMatters reported, the state quietly rolled out a promised clearinghouse website to help people find vaccination appointments. But it’s still a work in progress.

[Track the vaccine rollout in California and other states.]


Read more:

  • One of the biggest contributors to Los Angeles County’s surge is its overcrowded housing. [The New York Times]

  • Mandatory masking for interstate travel. Ramped up manufacturing. Here’s more of what’s in President Biden’s pandemic executive orders. [The New York Times]

  • Experts believe as many as thousands of coronavirus deaths have not been counted in San Bernardino County, giving a false sense of the disease’s deadliness. [The Riverside Press-Enterprise]

  • Fear over testing positive for Covid-19 and not being able to return to work, as well as worries over the vaccines, are hurting the eastern Coachella Valley. [The Desert Sun]

  • A coalition of more than 50 Bay Area restaurants and wineries sued Governor Newsom over the state’s outdoor dining ban. [The San Francisco Chronicle]

  • Getting millions of people vaccinated will help reduce infections. But vaccines alone won’t end the pandemic. [The New York Times]

  • The governor’s $2 billion school reopening fund could actually cost districts money. [CalMatters]