Solano County report: Halloween parties contributed to COVID surge

1st reports from Halloween parties cause Solano Covid-19 case surge

City of Fairfield IT Department employee Steph Bunch delivers candy from a distance to Michael Graham during the Parks and Recreation Department’s Halloween event in the parking lot at the Civic Center downtown, Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic file)
Fairfield Daily Republic, By Todd R. Hansen, November 10, 2020

FAIRFIELD — Solano County averaged nearly 80 new cases over the past three days as the first reports of Halloween-related transmissions were reported to Public Health.

“But not big events,” Dr. Bela Matyas, the county public health officer, said in a phone interview Monday. “These are in the range of 15 to 20 people.”

He said the conclusion was that these early reports are from private events and not larger, organized parties. It also appears it is mostly younger people, so unlike July when deaths and hospitalizations surged along with the cases, that is not the case now.

“But it doesn’t help the county with its cases,” Matyas said, a reference to the state’s metrics when deciding whether Solano County could be returned to more-restrictive shutdowns if it cannot get the numbers down in the next two weeks.

The county reported 234 new cases since Friday’s update – an average of 78 cases each day. Friday’s jump was even worse at 132 new cases.

“We had a bad weekend . . . and Friday was bad,” Matyas said.

The number of deaths attributed at least in part to Covid-19 stayed at 79, with one more case being reviewed but not yet confirmed. That case also is related to a Vacaville memory care center where the past three deaths occurred.

Hospitalizations rose to 31 from 24.

Matyas said the number of active cases also has been climbing, now up to 577. That metric reflects the number of positive tests within a person’s 10-day infectious period.

The seven-day positivity testing rate, which along with the case rate is what the state looks at to determine the county’s status, was reported Monday at 11.4%. The threshold between “red” and “purple” is 8%.

California’s color-coded monitoring system designates the purple tier for counties where transmission of the novel coronavirus is considered to be widespread. Shutdown orders for counties in the purple tier are the most severe. The red tier is for counties with substantial spread of the virus. The orange tier designates moderate virus transmission, while the yellow tier is reserved for counties where the spread of the virus is deemed to be minimal.

Restrictions to slow the spread of the virus are eased as counties move from purple to red, red to orange and orange to yellow.

The total number of completed tests is 111,092, up from 109,683 in Friday’s update. The number of tests has helped the county with the state and is likely keeping it from regressing into purple status starting Tuesday.

Fairfield added 72 new cases to bring its total to 2,646. Vallejo added 80 cases for a Monday count of 2,697. Vacaville added 56 cases, bringing its tally to 1,572.

Suisun City (598) added 12 cases; Dixon (547) was up eight cases; Benicia (215) added five; and Rio Vista’s one new case took its total to 64.

The unincorporated area of the county had 27 cases reported, the same as Friday. The number was wrongly reported at 28.