Solano County and Benicia now in EXTREMELY HIGH COVID transmission rates

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

Solano County Public Health corrected the January 3 COVID dashboard this morning, including shockingly high 7-day positive test numbers, over 1,200 new cases, 4 deaths, hospitalizations, major increases in City data, as well as age and race details.  This is the first accurate update since experiencing technical problems in December.

January 3, 2022 UPDATED SUMMARY: Solano County recorded 1,229 new infections over the New Year holiday, and
4 new COVID-related deaths.  Solano & Benicia continue in EXTREMELY HIGH rate of community transmission.

Solano dashboard, Monday, January 3:

DEATHS: Solano reported 4 new deaths as of Monday, January 3.  Demographic data on these and two previous deaths were reported: Two who died were age 18-49, two were age 50-64 and two were over 65. One was Black, one Hispanic/Latinx, and two White.  Trending: The County reported 27 COVID deaths in September, 18 in October, 14 in November, 22 in December, and 4 already in January (40 of us have died over 50 days since the uptick beginning on November 15).  A total of 355 Solano residents have now died of COVID or COVID-related causes over the course of the pandemic.

CASES BY AGE GROUP: The County reported 1,229 new COVID cases today, but the County’s demographic report updated information on 1,872 new cases reported over the last 7 days.  331 of these 1,872 new cases (18%) were youth and children under 18.  The majority, 1,151 cases (61%) were age 18-49.  270 cases (14%) were age 50-64, and 120 (only 6%) were 65+.
BELOW: color-coded chart shows CASES SINCE THE OUTBREAK BEGAN BY AGE GROUP, expressed as a percentage of TOTAL CASES SINCE THE OUTBREAK BEGAN.  Increases are in red and decreases are in green as reported by Solano County since April of 2020.  Note the steady increase among children and youth of Solano County.  The population of those age 0-17 in Solano County is roughly 22%.COMPARE – U.S. cases among children and youth aged 0-17 as percentage of total cases is at 15.8% as of today.  (From the CDC covid-data-tracker.)

COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION RATE: Over the last week, Solano has risen dramatically into what I would call EXTREMELY HIGH transmission, with 1,872 new cases, up from 1,486 at last report.  CDC FORMULA: Based on Solano County’s population, 450 or more cases in 7 days places Solano in the CDC’s population-based definition of a HIGH transmission rate.  We would need to drop below 225 cases in 7 days to rate as having only MODERATE community transmission.

ACTIVE CASES: Solano’s 2,017 ACTIVE cases is up dramatically from the County’s last report of 1,382 active cases.

CASES BY CITY – Monday, January 3, 2022:

  • Benicia added 92 (!) new cases since the County’s last report 7 days ago, an average of 14 every day and a total of 1,817 cases since the outbreak began.  Benicia remains in the CDC’s HIGH rate of community transmission(see chart below).  Based on Benicia population, MODERATE is defined as less than 14 cases over the last 7 days, SUBSTANTIAL is 14-27 cases, and HIGH is 28 or more cases.  Benicia will need to maintain fewer than 14 new cases-per-7-days for 30 consecutive days before relaxing its mask mandateNote above that Solano County is currently also experiencing HIGH transmission.

  • Dixon added 74 new cases today, total of 2,763 cases.
  • Fairfield added 439 new cases today, total of 13,403 cases.
  • Rio Vista reported 20 new cases today, total of 669 cases.
  • Suisun City added 116 new cases today, total of 3,548 cases.
  • Vacaville added 397 new cases today, a total of 13,254 cases.
  • Vallejo added 729 new cases today, a total of 14,996 cases.
  • Unincorporated added 5 new cases today, a total of 156 cases.

CORRECTED DATA ON POSITIVE TEST RATE:  On Dec. 29, I observed a dramatic discrepancy between Solano’s 7-day test positivity data as displayed on a PC (16%) compared to that displayed on an android phone (22.9%). I held off posting an update until now, awaiting today’s conclusive and corrected County numbers. Solano County Public Health Officer Bela Matyas reported that they have been experiencing “transmission errors” and were looking into quality control measures to reduce such errors. My best guess proved true: our 7-day positivity numbers have been well over 16% over the holidays.  We will watch in coming days for further updates.  These numbers come from the dashboard’s Percent positive tests LINE GRAPH.

  COMPARE: The 1/3/22 California rate is 10.8%.  [Source: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Tracking Center]  The U.S. rate jumped to 17.13% as of 1/3/22. [Source: CDC COVID Data Tracker.] 


CURRENT hospitalizations: rose substantially today from 44 persons to 56 persons.  (See also TOTAL hospitalizations, next below…)

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.  Solano Public Health minimally updated its age and race hospitalizations charts today. The age chart showed 2 previously unreported hospitalizations today, including 1 young adult age 18-49, and 1 of our elders age 65+.  One was Black and one was Hispanic.  Solano hospitals have now reported a total of over 3,227 COVID patients since the beginning of the outbreak.  (Data on age is more reliable than that on race/ethnicity.)

ICU Bed Availability in Solano County rose from 20% at last report to 23%, in the Yellow danger zone.  [See also in today’s SF Chronicle: Napa County runs out of ICU hospital beds amid spike in Bay Area virus cases.]

Ventilator Availability  was up slightly from 69% to 71%.


Wear your mask in indoor public spaces and workplaces!
Due to a recent increase in cases, CDPH has mandated that everyone in California wear a mask in indoor public spaces and workplaces. The order is in effect December 15, 2021 to January 15, 2022.  LEARN MORE…

Masks Required in Solano

Solano County follows State of California guidelines, requiring the wearing of a mask indoors – in all public places – even if you’re fully vaccinated.

From Solano County’s COVID-19 Dashboard:

12/20/21 Update
Mask Requirement Flyers: (English – PDF) (English – Word Doc) (Spanish – PDF) (Spanish – Word Doc)
12/13/21 Update

CDPH Face Coverings Updated Guidance
From December 15, 2021 – January 15, 2022, the state requires wearing a mask indoors – in all public places – even if you’re fully vaccinated. 
CDPH Travel Guidance
CDPH Mega Events Guidance

Solano County guidance for celebrating holiday traditions safely
Visit the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) website or the CDC website for additional holiday tips on protecting yourself and your family during the holidays

On December 7, Benicia City Council chose to keep the city’s mask mandate in place for another 30 days and review again in January. All Councilmembers expressed confidence that Benicia’s case numbers are likely to remain in MODERATE transmission for a 30-day period soon, [note that this has NOT been the case – Benicia has lapsed back into the HIGH transmission rate].  After 30 days in the MODERATE rate, the City Manager is empowered to unilaterally lift the mask mandate.  Four Councilmembers (excluding Mr. Largaespada) chose to remain cautious under the current mandate, requiring the 30-days at MODERATE.  If all goes well, the mandate may have been lifted before a possible reconsideration at the January 18 Council meeting.  But if the mandate is still in place on January 18, Council has now directed staff to bring a recommendation at that time for changing the METRICS by which the City determines a safe cutoff date for lifting the mask mandate.   All members agreed that the 7-day-case-rate metric would be strengthened if in some fashion it could be combined with hospitalization rates and vaccination rates.  How to determine those rates, and how to combine them for a determination would be covered in the staff recommendation.
See the video discussion of the Dec. 7 Council meeting – CLICK HERE (then scroll down on the agenda and click on item number 21.A – UPDATE ON FACE COVERINGS MANDATE.)
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.  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.