Category Archives: Delta variant

COVID case numbers back up in Solano County, 380 new infections, largely among the younger age groups

By Roger Straw, Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Wednesday, September 15: Solano reports 380 new infections since Monday, over 75% under 50 years of age

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

DEATHS: No new deaths todayTotal Solano deaths over the course of the pandemic now at 280.

CASES: The County reported  380 new COVID cases over the last two days, quickly back up to 190 per day after Monday’s drop to 50 per day, and well back in the range of last winter’s surge.

CASES BY AGE GROUP:  Solano cases are trending upward among younger residents. The percentage of Solano’s cases among our youth 0-17 years of age has increased very slowly over the course of the pandemic, starting below 6%, and only gradually reaching 12% in mid-April of 2021.  With today’s new cases alone, the two younger age groups each increased a tenth of a percentage point of total cases.  Those age 0-17 now represent 14% of total cases, and those age 18-49 represent 55.4% of total cases.  Also note that those age 0-17 accounted for 19% of today’s new cases, nearly equal to their percentage of Solano’s population – this among youth who were much less likely to be infected.  Note that Solano youth 0-17 continue to show very few hospitalizations (63 admissions, or 2% of total) and no deaths.

COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION RATE: Over the last 7 days, Solano has seen 750 new cases, NEARLY TWICE the CDC’s population-based definition of a HIGH rate of transmission!  Based on Solano County population of 449,432, the CDC would rate us in “SUBSTANTIAL” transmission with 225 cases over the last 7 days.  Double that, or 450 cases in the last 7 days would rank us in “HIGH” transmission.  And we are at 750 cases as of today!  [Reference: CDC’s level for “High Community Transmission”.]

ACTIVE CASES: Solano’s 773 ACTIVE cases is up significantly from Monday’s 588, and up alarmingly up from 212 on July 2.

POSITIVE TEST RATE:  Our 7-day average percent positivity rate was 10.7% today, down from 9.1% on Monday.  COMPARE: today’s California rate is 3.3%.  Today’s U.S. rate shot up from 9.7% to 15.0%[Source: Johns Hopkins]  WARNING: The Delta Variant is here in Solano County and spreading fast.  Time to mask up again – watch out and take care!

HOSPITALIZATIONS:

CURRENT hospitalizations were down slightly today from 93 to 92 persons, but still in the range we saw during the winter surge.

ICU Bed Availability went up today from 17% to 23%, but still in the yellow danger zone.  Again, we are still in the range we saw during the winter surge.

Ventilator Availability fell today from 59% to only 49%, in the range of last February’s winter 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. See below.  Interestingly, the TOTAL race/ethnicity numbers don’t square with the age group numbers.

FACE MASKS… Good News in Benicia and Vallejo

GOOD NEWS! 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 even RECOMMENDING masks in public indoors spaces.

SOLANO COUNTY dropped the ball on consideration of a MASK MANDATE.  The Solano County Board of Supervisors failed to even consider the proposed MASK MANDATE on Tuesday, September 14.  The agenda called for discussion of an indoors mask mandate for all and a vaccination mandate for county workers.  Although it was not on the agenda, the Board voted 4-1 to require county-run facilities in Vallejo and Benicia to abide by local mandates.  The Board voted down the vaccination mandate 3-2, and failed to even consider the county-wide mask mandate.  The Solano Board of Supervisors now joins with Dr. Bela Matyas in officially showing poor leadership on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cases by City on Wednesday, September 15:
  • Benicia added 9 new cases today, a total of 1,378 cases since the outbreak began.  Benicia has seen 24 new cases over the last 7 days, remaining just below the CDC’s definition of HIGH community transmission (based on Benicia population).  Benicia is still at the high end of the CDC’s range of SUBSTANTIAL transmission.  [Note that Solano County is also rated far above high transmission, and Solano’s 6 other cities are likely also individually experiencing high or substantial transmission.]
  • Dixon added 17 new cases today, total of 2,403 cases.
  • Fairfield added 65 new cases today, total of 11,624 cases.
  • Rio Vista added 5 new cases today, total of 547 cases.
  • Suisun City added 34 new cases today, total of 3,045 cases.
  • Vacaville added 136 new cases today, a total of 11,399 cases.
  • Vallejo added 114 new cases today, a total of 12,664 cases.
  • Unincorporated added 0 new cases today, a total of 134 cases (population figures not available).

Continue reading COVID case numbers back up in Solano County, 380 new infections, largely among the younger age groups

Don’t go to Vallejo libraries! Bela’s rules favor COVID transmission there

…and maybe you should think about staying away from all of Solano “up-county” – Fairfield and Vacaville, Suisun City, Dixon and Rio Vista!  – R.S.

[UPDATE: County reverses itself – click here…]

Vallejo libraries immune from mask mandates

Face coverings not required for the vaccinated

Staff and visitors aren't required to 'mask up' at Springstowne Library at 1003 Oakwood Ave., since the facility is county-operated. (Rich Freedman/Times-Herald)
Staff and visitors aren’t required to ‘mask up’ at Springstowne Library at 1003 Oakwood Ave., since the facility is county-operated. (Rich Freedman/Times-Herald)

Vallejo Times Herald, by Richard Freedman, September 13, 2021

Seems vaccinated staff and visitors are granted asylum from masking at the John F. Kennedy and Springstowne libraries in Vallejo.

Both facilities are exempt from the Vallejo City Council’s Sept. 7 “mask mandate” for all public buildings, vaccinated or not, because they are “subject to the county and library policies, procedures, rules and regulations that govern all library branches,” according to Suzanne Olawski, director of Library Services in Fairfield.

In Solano County, only Vallejo and Benicia have mask mandates in place.

Vallejo Councilmember Katy Miessner and Solano County Supervisor Erin Hannigan said they received complaints from citizens visiting the local libraries after noticing some staff members going maskless.

An employee at the John F Kennedy library wears a mask as he reshelves books on Friday in Vallejo. Because the library is a county building, employees have the option to not wear a mask indoors if they have proof of vaccination on record. (Chris Riley/Times-Herald)

Hannigan said that she “received an email from a resident citing librarians were not wearing masks, some were. When asked why they weren’t masked a librarian stated that the county doesn’t have a mask mandate and since they were in a county facility they believe they are exempt from the Vallejo mask mandate.”

Hannigan said she forwarded the email to Olawski.

“The City (Vallejo) owns the buildings and contracts with the County for library services,” Olawski said late Friday. “Per the operating agreement, the libraries operate as branches of the Solano County Library.”

A sign posted at the JFK Library entry effective June 15 states that “by entering this facility without a face covering you are self-attesting that you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.” For individuals who are unvaccinated, there is a list of reasons they could still be exempt from masking.

Information counter staffers at both Vallejo libraries sit behind framed Plexiglas shields. At JFK, most staffers still wore masks. Most of the staffers at Springstowne didn’t.

“If an employee is fully vaccinated, it is optional for them to wear a mask at work,” Olawski said. “However, any staff member not vaccinated is required to wear a mask at work. Face coverings are available to any employee that requests one, regardless of their vaccination status.”

Olawski added that “the county’s practice at this time is masks are not required for people over the age of 12 if they are vaccinated.”

Anyone over the age of 12 not wearing a mask in the library “is self-attesting to being vaccinated,” Olawski continued. “however, there are individuals who may be exempt from wearing a face covering because of medical or physical impairment issues.”

Not good enough, Miessner said, already “deeply disappointed that Solano County Public Health decided the County didn’t need an indoor mask mandate, given the delta variant causing increases to Vallejo’s infection rates and hospitalizations. So I was furious when I heard the county decided they can disregard Vallejo’s mask mandate in Vallejo libraries.”

The library, continued Miessner, “is a place where children tend to gather and children under 12 who cannot be vaccinated depend on adults who are, and who wear masks. Obviously, Vallejo children can’t depend on Solano County Public Health. But I was grateful that Vallejo had the authority to act on our own.”

If the policy was up to Hannigan, “all county employees working inside buildings in any city with a mask mandate should be masked,” adding that President Joe Biden’s vaccination mandate for public agencies and vaccine recommendation for private employers “is the right direction.”

“Implementing vaccine mandates for employees and contractors is the only way we will get closer to ending this pandemic and reduce the opportunity for new variants,” Hannigan said.

Vallejo Councilmember Rozzana Verder-Aliga said she “agrees that public and private buildings, offices and businesses should follow the mask mandate passed by the Vallejo City Council last week. This mask mandate is for the health and safety of our residents and everyone.”

Verder-Aliga said masks are mandated where she works at the Solano County Behavior Health Clinics in Vallejo and Fairfield and also mandated at the county courthouse in Fairfield where she served on jury duty.

The Vallejo City Council said it will re-visit the mask mandate in mid-October.

Because Benicia’s public library is not part of the county library system, masks are required for everyone, Steve Young said Friday. Any changes, the mayor added, will be based on COVID case count.

The county currently “does not mandate masks for vaccinated people in indoor public spaces, except for those venues where the state specifically requires, such as public transportation. schools, and healthcare facilities,” Solano Public Health Director Bela Matyas said Friday.

Solano County Supervisor Monica Brown sent a letter dated Aug. 27 to Vallejo Mayor Robert McConnell and the Vallejo City Council encouraging the city re-instate a mask mandate — which it did — and noting that she doesn’t have enough votes on the board of supervisors to implement a (county-wide) mandate.

“I am in full support of a mask mandate in Solano County,” wrote Brown, emphasizing that “the science supports requiring face coverings” and that “the unvaccinated are filling our hospitals at alarming rates. Vaccinations are crucial to beating the virus, but so are mask mandates.”

Some COVID measures looking better in Solano County, but community transmission still HIGH


By Roger Straw, Monday, September 13, 2021

Monday, September 13: Solano reports 149 new infections over the weekend and 2 new hospitalizations

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

DEATHS: No new deaths todayTotal Solano deaths over the course of the pandemic now at 280.

CASES: The County reported  149 new COVID cases over the weekend.  It’s encouraging that we are down to 50 per day, lower than any time since July 19.

COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION RATE: Over the last 7 days, Solano has seen 776 new cases, NEARLY TWICE the CDC’s population-based definition of a HIGH rate of transmission!  Based on Solano County population of 449,432, the CDC would rate us in “SUBSTANTIAL” transmission with 225 cases over the last 7 days.  Double that, or 450 cases in the last 7 days would rank us in “HIGH” transmission.  And we are at 776 cases as of today!  [Reference: CDC’s level for “High Community Transmission”.]

YOUTH CASES: The percentage of Solano’s cases among our youth has increased very slowly over the course of the pandemic, starting below 6%, and only gradually reaching 12% in mid-April of 2021.  The percentage of youth cases has jumped a full 0.9% since mid-August.

ACTIVE CASES: Solano’s 588 ACTIVE cases is down from last Friday’s 838, but up alarmingly up from 212 on July 2.

POSITIVE TEST RATE:  Our 7-day average percent positivity rate was 9.1% today, down from 9.7% on Wednesday.  COMPARE: today’s California rate is 2.9% and today’s U.S. rate is 9.7%[Source: Johns Hopkins]  WARNING: The Delta Variant is here in Solano County and spreading fast.  Time to mask up again – watch out and take care!

HOSPITALIZATIONS:

CURRENT hospitalizations were down today from 106 to 93 persons, but still in the range we saw during the winter surge.

ICU Bed Availability remained at 17% today, in the yellow danger zone.  Again, we are still in the range we saw during the winter surge.

Ventilator Availability remained at 59%, and still in the range of last February’s winter 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 SUBSTANTIALLY updated its Hospitalizations charts Friday, adding over 500 previously unreported hospitalizations (by age, or nearly 450 by race/ethnicity).  The County added 2 more new hospitalizations today, both over 65, one Black person and one White person.  See below.  Interestingly, the TOTAL race/ethnicity numbers don’t square with the age group numbers.

FACE MASKS… Good News in Benicia and Vallejo

GOOD NEWS!  Benicia City Council passed a citywide indoors mask mandate. The mandate went into effect immediately and includes everyone 4 years old and up when indoors in public places, even those of us who are vaccinated.  The mask resolution, press release, and a flyer now appear on the City website.

Benicia was the first Solano city to take action despite the County’s lack of strong guidance on masks.  Benicia was joined by Vallejo on August 31In the Bay Area, Solano County REMAINS the only holdout against even RECOMMENDING masks in public indoors spaces. 

COUNTY-WIDE MASK MANDATE?  The Solano County Board of Supervisors has agendized a consideration of a MASK MANDATE TOMORROW, on Tuesday, September 14.  The description of the agenda item uses mandate language as follows: “Consider and provide direction regarding a Board Member request for the establishment of mandatory indoor face mask order for Solano County.”  BUT… County staff has offered a DRAFT resolution that merely “encourages” and “recommends” and doesn’t even use the words “mask” or “face covering” in the body of the resolution.  Your comments might be important before or during the Board’s Tuesday September 14 meeting.  For instructions on how to participate, see the Sept 14 Agenda.

Cases by City on Monday, September 13:
  • Benicia added 7 new cases today, a total of 1,369 cases since the outbreak began.  Benicia has seen 24 new cases over the last 7 days, dropping Benicia or the first time since August 9 below the CDC’s definition of HIGH community transmission (based on Benicia population).  Benicia is still at the high end of the CDC’s range of SUBSTANTIAL transmission.  [Note that Solano County is also rated far above high transmission, and Solano’s 6 other cities are likely also individually experiencing high or substantial transmission.]
  • Dixon added 8 new cases today, total of 2,386 cases.
  • Fairfield added 30 new cases today, total of 11,559 cases.
  • Rio Vista added 3 new cases today, total of 542 cases.
  • Suisun City added 7 new cases today, total of 3,011 cases.
  • Vacaville added 52 new cases today, a total of 11,263 cases.
  • Vallejo added 42 new cases today, a total of 12,550 cases.
  • Unincorporated added 0 new cases today, a total of 134 cases (population figures not available).

Continue reading Some COVID measures looking better in Solano County, but community transmission still HIGH

CORRECTION: Solano County discloses 500 previously unreported COVID hospitalizations (not 1,000)


By Roger Straw, September 12, 2021

Mathematical error in previous BenIndy update

The whopping increase in hospitalizations reported by Solano County on Friday was indeed unprecedented.  But I regret having made a mathematical error.  When adding the new numbers, I inadvertently doubled the total.

The County actually added 505 previously unreported COVID hospitalizations, not 1,000 as reported here yesterday.  See details in the table and chart below.

Note that these new numbers cannot possibly be all NEW hospitalizations.  The County has on a number of occasions gone back and retroactively updated its COVID data.  I’m reasonably sure that is what happened Friday.  The huge increase is still highly significant for tracking the disease in our county.

TOTAL hospitalizations since the outbreak started as reported in Solano County on Friday, September 10:

Click image for larger view.