Benicia City Council will consider amendments to local mask mandate

NOTE: The information below is not the latest.  CLICK HERE for today’s latest information.

By Roger Straw, Friday, October 22, 2021  [Breaking news: Benicia City Council may weaken mask mandate – click here to scroll down.  – R.S>]

Friday, October 22: Solano County reports 79 new infections and remains in the CDC’s SUBSTANTIAL 7-day transmission rate.  Benicia also remains in SUBSTANTIAL community transmission.

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

DEATHS: Solano reported no new COVID-related deaths today.  The County has reported 45 COVID deaths just since Sept 1.  A total of 315 Solano residents have died of COVID or COVID-related causes over the course of the pandemic.

CASES: The County reported 79 new COVID cases since Wednesday, 40 per day.  AGES: 18 of these 79 cases were youth and children under 18.  37 were age 18-49, 19 were age 50-64, and only 5 were 65+.

COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION RATE: Over the last 7 days, Solano has seen SUBSTANTIAL community transmission, with 278 new cases.  Good news is that this is down from 430 on Wednesday.  CDC FORMULA: Based on Solano County’s population, 450 cases in 7 days would move Solano up into the CDC’s population-based definition of a HIGH transmission rate, and we would need to drop below 225 cases in 7 days to rate as having only MODERATE community transmission.

ACTIVE CASES: Solano’s 348 ACTIVE cases is up slightly from Wednesday’s 342, and still far above our summer rates.

CASES BY CITY on Friday, October 22:

    • Benicia added only 3 new cases today, a total of 1,519 cases since the outbreak began.  TRANSMISSION RATE: SUBSTANTIAL.  Benicia has seen 23 new cases over the last 7 days, remaining below the CDC’s definition of HIGH community transmission (defined as 28 or more cases, based on Benicia population – SEE CHART BELOW).  [Note above that Solano County is currently experiencing SUBSTANTIAL transmission.

    • Dixon added 4 new cases today, total of 2,529 cases.
    • Fairfield added 21 new cases today, total of 12,163 cases.
    • Rio Vista reported at 1 new case today, total of 597 cases.
    • Suisun City added 10 new cases today, total of 3,215 cases.
    • Vacaville added 23 new cases today, a total of 11,917 cases.
    • Vallejo added 17 new cases today, a total of 13,308 cases.
    • Unincorporated added 0 new cases today, a total of 139 cases (population figures not available).

POSITIVE TEST RATE:  Solano’s 7-day average percent positivity rate was 5.5% today, up from Wednesday’s 4.6%.  COMPARE: today’s California rate is 1.4% and today’s U.S. rate is 4.9%[Source: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Tracking Center]


CURRENT hospitalizations were down today from 44 to 37 persons, but still far above the range we saw during last summer.

ICU Bed Availability is at 37% today, back in the green safe zone and up from only 11% on Monday and 20% on Wednesday.  We remain in the worrisome range we saw during last winter’s surge.

Ventilator Availability is up today from 57% to 66%, getting better.

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.  Total COVID hospitalizations in Solano remain at 2,838 since the beginning of the outbreak.

BREAKING NEWS: FACE MASKS… Benicia’s mask mandate may be weakened by City Council on Nov 16

On Tuesday, October 19, Benicia City Council reviewed our CDC-defined 7-day community transmission rate for September-October, which has yet to dip below the SUBSTANTIAL level.  Because of this poor data and according to City Resolution 21-88, Council left in place Benicia’s citywide indoors mask mandate for now.  The mandate 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.  On Tuesday, Councilmember Largaespada convinced other Councilmembers and staff to bring consideration of amending the mandate back to Council on November 16.  Largaespada suggested amendments that could weaken the mandate with various exceptions, possibly including no indoor mask requirements in restaurants, bars and gyms.  Largaespada would “Limit the mask mandate to the most essential businesses in town.”  He added that groceries, pharmacies, banks and City Hall might be considered essential.

Vallejo also passed an indoors mask mandate on August 31.  In the Bay Area, Solano County REMAINS the only holdout against a mask mandate for public indoors spaces.

SOLANO COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS failed to consider an agendized proposal for a countywide MASK MANDATE on Tuesday, September 14.  Recent Bay Area news put Solano in a sad light: all other county health officers issued a joint statement offering details on when they would be able to lift mask mandates (not likely soon).  TV news anchors had to point out that Solano would not be considering such a move since our health officer had not been able to “justify” a mask mandate in the first place.  The Solano Board of Supervisors has joined with Dr. Bela Matyas in officially showing poor leadership on the COVID-19 pandemic.

HOW DOES TODAY’S REPORT COMPARE?  See recent reports and others going back to April 20, 2020 on my ARCHIVE of daily Solano COVID updates (an excel spreadsheet).

>>The data on this page is from the Solano County COVID-19 Dashboard.  The Dashboard is full of much more information and updated Monday, Wednesday and Friday around 4 or 5pm.  On the County’s dashboard, you can hover a mouse or click on an item for more information.  Note the tabs at top for “Summary, Demographics” and “Vaccines.”  Click here to go to today’s Solano County Dashboard.