City of Benicia website posts information on new Face Covering Mandate

From the City of Benicia website, August 25, 2021

Press Release, Resolution and Flyer: City of Benicia Takes Action to Require Face Coverings in Indoor Public Places

  •  Press Release City of Benicia Takes Action to Require Face Coverings in Indoor Public Places
    Benicia, CA (August 25, 2021) — At Tuesday evening’s Benicia City Council meeting, Council Members voted 5-0 in support of a resolution requiring that each person, aged 4 years and over, wear a face covering when in any indoor or enclosed space open to the public within the City of Benicia.  [continued…]
  • Resolution 21-88 Face Coverings
    WHEREAS, California Government Code Section 8630 empowers the City Council to proclaim the existence or threatened existence of a Local Emergency when the City is affected or likely to be affected by a public calamity; and  [continued…]
  • Indoor Mask Requirement Flyer (Click image to download PDF version of the flyer)
    Click image to download PDF version of the flyer

Solano reports 327 new infections today, 2 new deaths, 904 ACTIVE cases.  Benicia passes masking ordinance!

By Roger Straw, Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Wednesday, August 25: Solano reports 327 new infections today, 2 new deaths, 904 ACTIVE casesBenicia passes masking ordinance!

Solano County COVID dashboard SUMMARY:
[Sources: see below.  See also my ARCHIVE spreadsheet of daily Solano COVID updates.]

DEATHS: The County reported 2 new deaths today, both age 50-64.  One was White and one was Multi-race.  Total deaths now number 266.

Percentage of cases by age groups. Click to enlarge.

CASES: The County reported  a whopping 327 new COVID over the last 2 days, 164 per day, even higher than last week’s 157 per day. Case numbers show a startling increase in the PERCENTAGE OF YOUNG PERSONS age 0-17, increasing another tenth of a percent to a new high of 13.3% of total cases.  The percentage of youth cases has increased very slowly over the course of the pandemic, starting below 6%, and very gradually reaching 12% in mid-April of 2021.  CASES-PER DAY TREND (All Age Groups): We are experiencing a dramatic “summer surge” now.  Cases-per-day were trending downward in the Spring, but rose rapidly in July and are skyrocketing here in August:ACTIVE CASES: Solano’s 904 ACTIVE cases is up from Monday’s 833, and alarmingly up from 212 on July 2, and in the range we experienced during the winter surge.

POSITIVE TEST RATE:  Our 7-day average percent positivity rate was 17.4% today, up from 15.7% Monday, over twice the purple tier margin, and about 4 times today’s California rate of 4.4% and over 1.5 times today’s U.S. rate of 11.1%[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!  

CURRENT hospitalizations were up slightly today from 143 to 147 persons, still higher than any time since the winter surge.

ICU Bed Availability was up from yesterday’s shockingly low 18%, showing 30% of beds available todayStill in the yellow danger zone.

Ventilator Availability was up slightly today from 51% to 58%, and continuing in the range we saw last winter.

TOTAL Hospitalized The County’s Monday-Friday dashboard shows an intake/discharge total of CURRENTLY hospitalized cases (above), but never reports on the TOTAL hospitalized over the course of the pandemic.  That total must be independently discovered in the County’s occasional update of the Hospitalizations by Age Group chart.  The County updated its Hospitalizations charts today.  The Age Group chart shows 28 new hospitalizations, 5 age 18-49, 15 age 50-64, and 3 over 65 – a total of 2,084 persons hospitalized since the beginning of the outbreak, in the following age groups:

Age Group Hospitalizations % of Total
0-17 36 2%
18-49 590 28%
50-64 564 27%
65+ 894 43%
TOTAL 2,084 100%

The Hospitalizations by Race / Ethnicity chart shows  23 new hospitalizations today, 2 Asians, 1 Black, 7 Latinx, 10 White, and 3 Multirace – a total of 1,952 persons hospitalized since the beginning of the outbreak.  Here are the current numbers and percentages.  Interestingly, the total doesn’t square with the total by age groups.

Race / Ethnicity Hospitalizations % of Total
Asians 325 17%
Black / African American 337 17%
Hispanic / Latinx 562 29%
White 641 33%
Multirace / Others 87 4%
TOTAL 1,952 100%
Face Coverings… Good News in Benicia

GOOD NEWS!  Yesterday, Benicia Council passed a citywide indoors mask mandate. The Council heard from Dr. Bela Matyas, Dr. Bonnie Hamilton and the public, which was almost entirely in favor of a mandate and included a number of medical professionals.  Councilmembers debated on various finer points, and passed the resolution on a 5-0 vote around 10:15pm. The mandate went into effect immediately. Everyone 4 years old and up must now wear a mask indoors in public places, even those of us who are vaccinated. A press release, the order and a flyer now appears on the City website.  For those interested in viewing last night’s procedings, the video is posted on the City website, at…. The mask mandate discussion begins around minute 23.

Benicia is the first Solano city to take action despite the County’s lack of strong guidance on masks.  In the Bay Area, Solano County REMAINS the only holdout against even RECOMMENDING masks in public indoors spaces.  Hopefully, Dr. Matyas will learn from Benicia, and make the necessary difficult decisions. 

Please mask indoors in public now, and maybe even indoors with vaccinated family and friends!  And PLEASE talk to anyone you know who isn’t vaccinated.  This thing ain’t over yet!

Cases by City on Wednesday, August 25:
  • Benicia added 8 new cases today, a total of 1,224 cases since the outbreak began, 4.4% of its population of 27,570.
  • Dixon added 25 new cases today, total of 2,194 cases, 11.1% of its population of 19,794.
  • Fairfield added 87 new cases today, total of 10,683 cases, 9.1% of its population of 117,149.
  • Rio Vista added 13 new cases today, total of 488 cases, 5.2% of its population of 9,416.
  • Suisun City added 23 new cases today, total of 2,776 cases, 9.4% of its population of 29,447.
  • Vacaville added 74 new cases today, a total of 10,249 cases, 10.4% its of population of 98,807.
  • Vallejo added 97 new cases today, a total of 11,593 cases, 9.7% of its population of 119,544.
  • Unincorporated remained steady today, a total of 122 cases (population figures not available).

Continue reading Solano reports 327 new infections today, 2 new deaths, 904 ACTIVE cases.  Benicia passes masking ordinance!

Stay away from South Dakota! Covid cases quintuple after Sturgis motorcycle rally

Meade County, home to Sturgis, has had a more than 1,500 percent increase in cases in the past 14 days.

Motorcycle enthusiasts attend the 81st annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally on Aug. 8, 2021, in Sturgis, S.D.
Motorcycle enthusiasts attend the 81st annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally on Aug. 8, 2021, in Sturgis, S.D. | Scott Olson / Getty Images file
NBC News, By Ben Kesslen and Joe Murphy, Aug. 25, 2021

Two weeks after the annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, reported Covid infections in the state have risen nearly sixfold.

South Dakota counted 3,819 new cases in the past two weeks, including seven deaths, up from 644 cases in the 14 days preceding it. That makes it the state with the largest percent increase in Covid cases in the past two weeks.

The state’s rate of Covid-19 infections per capita in the past two weeks is in the bottom half of the country, but it’s the sharp and sudden increase in case counts that sets it apart.

Meade County, home to Sturgis, has counted 330 new cases in the last two weeks, up from the 20 reported in the two weeks before the rally, according to Johns Hopkins University’s case count. The 1,550 percent increase comes after the motorcycle rally, which usually draws around half a million people, possibly had its biggest year ever, according to County Sheriff Ron Merwin.

Dr. Shankar Kurra, the vice president of medical affairs at Monument Health, which operates hospitals serving western South Dakota, including one in Sturgis, said the events at this year’s rally feel like “a replay of last year.”

In June, Monument Health had three Covid patients, a pandemic low for hospitalizations, and Kurra said he thought that number might drop to zero. Now, the number is up to 58, about half of what it was at its peak in the winter. The people in the hospital are younger and “almost 99.9% are unvaccinated,” he said.

“It’s not the highest it has ever been but is definitely at a number that puts us at a disadvantage,” Kurra said. “You have a strain on resources and a lot of stress on the health system to give timely care to non-Covid patients.”

Thousands flock to Sturgis motorcycle rally despite concerns over delta variant

It’s too soon to know if the Sturgis rally, which began on Aug. 6 and ended Aug. 15, had a direct effect on the increase or can be classified as a “superspreader” event, but Meade County is now reporting a 36 percent positivity rate, with about 1 in every 3 Covid tests returning a positive result. The 82 cases the county reported Tuesday was its highest daily number yet, eclipsing the 68 cases it reported on Aug. 27, 2020. (Meade County has reported 3,168 cases and 31 deaths since the start of the pandemic, one of the lowest Covid case counts, when adjusted for population, among the state’s 66 counties).

From the onset of the pandemic, South Dakota has seen a higher per capita rate of infections than all but two states, North Dakota and Tennessee, per an NBC News tally.

Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, has been firm in keeping South Dakota open throughout the pandemic, shunning mask mandates, criticizing public health officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci, and insisting on holding mass gatherings against CDC recommendations. On Monday, after the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s two-dose Covid-19 vaccine for people ages 16 and up, the governor tweeted that if President Joe Biden “illegally mandates vaccines, I will take every action available under the law to protect South Dakotans from the federal government.” Currently, 48.4 percent of South Dakota is fully vaccinated, according to an NBC News tally.

In an email Tuesday, a South Dakota Department of Health spokesperson, Daniel Bucheli, said the spikes in Covid cases in the state “are following a national trend being experienced in every state.”

“Regarding cases surrounding the Sturgis Rally, our Department has only been able to link 16 cases directly to this event,” Bucheli said. “It is important to mention that Meade county currently has a lower vaccination rate than other counties in SD.”

ABC7 TV News: Benicia Council passes mask mandate

Benicia passes indoor mask mandate despite Solano Co. health officer’s recommendation

ABC7 News, August 25, 2021

BENICIA, Calif. (KGO) — Anyone aged four and up are now required to wear a mask indoors at public buildings in Benicia. That includes grocery stores, commercial office buildings and restaurants.

City council members approved the mandate yesterday.

Benicia is taking a harder stance than the rest of Solano County — the only Bay Area county without a mask mandate.

Earlier this month, ABC7 News spoke with the Solano County Health Officer who explained why they initially chose not to implement indoor masking.

“The data does not support the need for such a mandate. This disease in our county is very clearly spreading during/through social events, people who are going to parties, barbecues, picnics, campouts,” said Dr. Bela Matyas.

The mandate goes into effect immediately and will be reviewed in six weeks.

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