The Chronicle has published two excellent reviews this week contrasting Solano County with our Bay Area neighbors. The first below profiles Solano with stats and detailed interviews with Solano leaders and residents.
In Solano County, the Bay Area’s COVID outlier, masks are anything but universal
SF Chronicle, by Kellie Hwang, Danielle Echeverria, Sep. 19, 2021
Paulie Spacco believes anyone infected with the coronavirus should just “let the body do its thing” and build antibodies, even though an 18-month pandemic and the deaths of 1 in 500 Americans point to the dangers of following such a strategy.
Spacco, a Vacaville resident and small-business owner in his 60s, and his friend Gregorio Serrao, in his 70s, both say they have no intention of getting vaccinated and oppose restricting people’s activities to try to control the spread of COVID-19. Over sandwiches recently at La Borgata Italian Deli on Vacaville’s Main Street, the two dismissed evidence proving that masks work to help block transmission of virus-laden droplets.
FAIRFIELD — The 2021-2022 academic year has only just begun but already the Fairfield-Suisun School District has dozens of reported Covid-19 cases.
Nancy Dunn, president of the Fairfield-Suisun Unified Teachers Association, reported Thursday that 50 students and staff had called into the district’s schools reporting positive test results for Covid-19.
Dunn made her report Thursday night during the school board meeting.
She said the numbers reflected 16 in-person instructional days with an average of a little more than three notices per day. Those numbers had increased by Saturday to 52 students and 11 staff members.
Those numbers are updated on the district’s new Covid-19 dashboard, which was created to keep track of reported cases of the disease. The dashboard went live Sept. 3, according to Jaden Baird, executive director of Administrative Services and Community Engagement.
It is easily available for anyone to view on the district’s website.
The dashboard is updated as soon as the information is added to the system. The district has two staff members working on the updates, including one for students and one for staff.
A disclaimer on the dashboard reads:
“The statistics displayed on this dashboard for students are, for the majority, self-reported cases. We are relying on our parent community to notify us as to whether or not a student is positive for Covid. There have been a few cases in which a student has come to school symptomatic and were tested immediately and found to be positive. Even in these few circumstances, due to staff and students following our protocols, no transmission at school occurred. Once a parent notifies us of a positive case, contact tracing begins and all close contacts are notified.”
Dunn said it is a difficult time for teachers and students who want to feel safe while attending school. She said the dashboard is a positive because it makes the information readily available to parents, staff and to the community.
“These numbers are in spite of masks indoors and vaccinations,” she said.
Dunn also reported that not a lot of reports of mask violations have been made but those that were reported were swiftly dealt with.
“Because of the quick action of staff, I believe it has kept the numbers from being higher,” she said.
Dunn said staff are concerned about the expiration Sept. 30 of the Covid Leave Act. Employees currently are eligible for 10 days of Covid leave with pay.
Many staff members don’t have personal leave because they haven’t been in the district long enough to have paid leave, Dunn said. She said some teachers are already stretched to make it to the end of the month. She said if this is not renegotiated, it could mean a lot of financial hardship for teachers who contract the disease.
“So far student cases have all been reported from parents and none of those cases was from exposure within the school,” Superintendent Kris Corey said. “It is parents calling in saying the child is positive. We don’t ask for a note from the doctor for the students but take them at their word.”
Corey spoke Thursday about contact tracing, which is required for anyone who reports being positive for Covid-19. She said it is “a monstrosity.” It takes many hours to determine close contacts and who needs to be notified, and who has been vaccinated or not, she said.
“It takes a lot of time to do the contract tracing,” Corey said. “It is different for teachers than students.”
It’s different for employees because they need a doctor’s note. The district then goes through a different process with them.
Students or staff who are vaccinated or who want to remain on modified quarantine and continue to come to work or school need to be tested for Covid-19 during that time period, she said.
“It takes a lot of time during the day to test students, so we are working (on) refining process and working on testing outside of the school day,” Corey said. “They will need to come at those times to be tested.”
Corey asked for volunteers to assist with the testing. They will be compensated for their time, she said.
There you will see that as of 9:23am on July 24, among all Californians, 52.7% are fully vaccinated, meaning they have either received both shots of a two-dose regime from Pfizer or Moderna, or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Solano County had administered 458,724 doses of vaccine. 58.4% of county residents had received at least one dose, but only 48.8% were fully vaccinated.
Our fully vaccinated rate of 48.8% puts us right around average, ranking 27th among California’s 58 counties. Our one-dose measure ranks us a little better, 22nd out of 58 counties.
It’s interesting to compare Solano to our Bay Area neighbors: among the fully vaccinated, Solano ranks dead last among our 9 Bay Area and nearby neighbor counties.
At least 1 dose
Only Sacramento County has fewer residents who have received only 1 dose.
And… vaccination rates by Solano cities and zip codes – Benicia at 80%!
I tracked down Benicia’s vaccination rate on the State of California’s Open Data Portal. It’s complicated, and I can’t for the life of me figure out how I got there, but here’s the page you want: https://public.tableau.com/app/profile/ca.open.data/viz/LHJVaccineEquityPerformance/MapView. This will open a map showing the instruction, “Click anywhere to load an interactive data experience.” You click on the map and another map that looks identical opens. But this map is interactive – click the + (plus sign) 2 or 3 times to enlarge the map, and then you can hover your mouse over our Solano cities and zips for detailed information. Here’s what I found hovering over Benicia (click the image to enlarge).
In Benicia, zip code 94510, we have a vaccination rate among the 24,819 of us who are 12 years and older… of 80%!
You can explore the map to see your city’s zip code. But I’ll save you a trip – here are the Solano cities/zips I was able to find AS OF TODAY. Note that these numbers are all higher than the LA Times numbers above. I suspect that is because this data calculates a percentage based on residents 12+ while the LA Times most likely uses total population.
Solano County zip code
Share of population vaccinated
Vallejo / Mare Island 94592
Vallejo all zips
Suisun City 94585
Green Valley/Ffield 94534
Travis AFB 94535
Rio Vista 94571
Something is surely off about the Travis numbers. Is the Air Base not reporting?
Interesting that EVERYONE in Elmira is vaccinated!
With the most recent data update, five counties saw case rates and positivity rates that put them in a position to move next week if their numbers remain low:
Placer County could move to the orange tier.
Yolo County to move to the yellow tier.
Plumas County to move to the yellow tier.
Inyo County to move to the yellow tier.
Merced County could move to the orange tier.
Yuba and Tuolumne county were in a position to move to a less restrictive tier last week, but their case rates rose to a point where they were ineligible to move this week.
Counties need to meet the next tiers metrics requirements for two consecutive weeks before moving tiers. There are only three more weeks of tier changes until June 15, when the state plans to retire the tier system. So, there still is enough time for more counties down one more tier before there are no more tiers.