Category Archives: COVID-19 Purple Tier

Counties see alarming infection rates – Solano would be in purple if tiers were still used

Northern California counties, including Solano, have new alarming infection rates

If tier system in place, at least a dozen would be in purple

Northern California counties, including Solano, have new alarming infection rates

Vallejo Times-Herald, by John Woolfolk & Harriet Rowan, July 20, 2021

How bad is California’s Delta COVID-19 surge?

If the Golden State was still using its four-color reopening blueprint for ranking counties by infection rates, at least a dozen, including Los Angeles, Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano now would be in the most-restrictive purple tier, and many businesses would not be fully open.

And that’s using new metrics introduced in March that made it easier for counties with higher case rates to move into lower-restriction tiers once the state reached what it considered equitable vaccination rates. Using the state’s original tier definitions, 29 counties, including San Francisco, now would be purple, which meant that the virus was widespread, a Bay Area News Group analysis found.

This map is interactive at

The dire picture comes a little over a month since California authorities on June 15 dropped the reopening blueprint and its color-coded restrictions on gatherings and business activities and eased requirements for face masks in public to slow the virus’ spread. Since then, sports venues, bars and amusement parks have fully reopened, and people throughout the state gathered for July Fourth barbecues and parties.

“We’ve all forgotten about the tier system because we wanted to,” said Dr. John Swartzberg, clinical professor emeritus of infectious diseases and vaccinology at UC Berkeley’s school of public health. “We’re not in a very good place compared to where we were a month ago.”

California was one of the slowest states to reopen its economy during the pandemic and has one of the highest vaccination rates, especially among large states, with almost 52% of its population fully inoculated against the virus compared with 56% in New York, nearly 48% in Florida and 43% in Texas.

But like much of the United States, California is seeing rapid spread of COVID-19 driven by the highly infectious Delta variant, nearly all of it among those who haven’t been vaccinated.

On Monday, Napa, Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey counties became the latest to urge people who are both vaccinated and unvaccinated to wear masks while indoors in public places to slow the virus’ spread, joining most other Bay Area counties as well as Sacramento, Fresno and Yolo. Los Angeles made that an order Saturday.

According to the California Department of Public Health, the virus is spreading statewide at a 7-day average daily rate of 6.3 cases per 100,000 people among the unvaccinated, but at a rate of 1.1 per 100,000 people among the vaccinated. The department did not have those figures by county.

“Vaccines remain the best protection against COVID-19, including the highly infectious Delta variant,” the CDPH said in a statement Friday. “As we continue to see the real and aggressive impact of the Delta variant in rising case rates, we cannot stress enough how critical it is for eligible individuals to get vaccinated.”

California introduced its color-coded reopening blueprint last August amid a summer surge in cases after the state eased its March 2020 stay-home order to curb the coronavirus.

Under the original blueprint, counties in which the 7-day average of daily COVID-19 cases was 7 per 100,000 people or more were assigned the most restrictive purple tier.

At those rates, middle and high schools, and at some levels even elementary schools, couldn’t begin opening campuses to students. Bars were closed, and restaurants, theaters and gyms could only operate outdoors, where the virus doesn’t easily spread.

The blueprint allowed for progressively more gatherings and activities once counties’ case rates fell, putting them into the “substantial” red, “moderate” orange and “minimal” yellow tiers.

At the January peak of California’s deadly winter COVID-19 case spike, all but four rural counties were in the purple tier.

In March, as vaccines became more widely available and more people were getting the shots, state officials revised the tier metrics to account for the protection offered by immunization, making it easier for counties with high vaccination rates to move out of the restrictive tiers and reopen more businesses. Under the revised rules, the purple tier applied to counties with 7-day average daily case rates of 10 per 100,000 people or more.

On June 15, when the state ended its tier system, no California counties remained in the purple tier, and just one was in the red, while 29 were in the yellow tier.

The breathtaking pace of the virus’ resurgence already has led many local health authorities to at least recommend measures such as wearing masks indoors in public for all, vaccinated or not. But state officials for now have not changed their guidance, including allowing the vaccinated to go without masks inside.

Swartzberg noted that given how low infections had fallen since the spring, the sharp rise in new case rates still involves relatively small numbers. Statewide, the 7-day average daily case rate as of Sunday was 7 per 100,000 people, up significantly from 2 per 100,000 in early June but far lower than the 109.3 per 100,000 Jan. 9. And hospitalizations and deaths, which tend to lag new cases by a few weeks, remain on a downward slope. The 7-day average daily death rate as of Sunday was 0.01 per 100,000, down from 1.7 per 100,000 Jan. 9.

But given the Delta variant’s high transmissibility and rapid spread, even in the highly vaccinated Bay Area where many people continue wearing masks, new restrictions may be in order.

“The Delta variant’s transmissibility is so much greater than anything we’ve encountered,” Swartzberg said. “I think the Bay Area was wise in recommending masks indoors for everyone. If things continue on the trajectory we’re seeing, the Bay Area will probably have to mandate it and hope it’s sufficient to flatten the curve.”

Solano County returns to COVID-19 Red Tier effective March 10

March 9, 2021


News Contacts:
Matthew Davis, Senior Management Analyst and Public Communications Officer
(707) 784-6111 | (AND)
Jayleen Richards, Health Services Administrator, Public Health Division
(707) 784-8616 |

Solano County returns to Red Tier (Red Tier (2) effective March March 10, loosening restrictions for certain businesses activities
Download the press release…

SOLANO COUNTY –– The State of California announced today that Solano County has moved from the most restrictive Purple Tier (Tier 1) to a less-restrictive Red Tier (Tier 2) of the State’s COVID-19 Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Effective Wednesday, March 10, more businesses and activities will be able to expand capacity or resume operations, including indoor services at restaurants, increased capacity at retail and shopping centers, youth sports activities and an opportunity for schools to reopen.

“The declining number of cases is great news for our community as a whole, with local businesses now able to expand operations,” said Bela T. Matyas, M.D., M.P.H. “However, it is still critical for everyone to continue to practice health and safety measures. Let us all continue to do our part to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19 infection—wear a mask, practice physical distancing, limit gatherings with others outside of the household, and get vaccinated when the vaccine is available for you.”

◼ Restaurants indoor dining (max 25% capacity of facility or 100 people, whichever is fewer)
◼ All retail indoors (max 50% capacity of facility)
◼ Shopping centers, swap meets indoors (max 50% capacity of facility, closed common areas)
◼ Museums, zoos and aquariums (max 25% capacity of facility)
◼ Movie theaters indoors (max 25% capacity of facility or 100 people, whichever is fewer)
◼ Gyms and fitness centers indoors (max 10% capacity of facility)
◼ Schools may open while in Red Tier status and provide in-person instruction
◼ Youth sports: Outdoor low-and moderate-contact sports are permitted; outdoor high-contact sports are also permitted if state guidelines are adhered to

Prior to opening under the Red Tier, all businesses and activities must review the State guidelines, complete a State COVID-19 general checklist and ensure a written plan is on file and available for public review. Information and resources on Guidance for Specific Industries is available on the State’s COVID-19 website at

To move to an even less restrictive tier, the Orange Tier (Tier 3), test positivity rates and additional metrics must continue to improve for two consecutive weeks. If Solano County residents and businesses continue to make progress in preventing COVID-19 transmission, additional business sectors and indoor activities can progressively begin to open, with modifications.

Nearly 90,000 people have been vaccinated and more than 30,000 have received two doses, including the healthcare and emergency services sectors, individuals 65 years of age and older, childcare workers, teachers and school employees, food and agricultural workers.

Solano Public Health urges Solano County residents to register on both the Solano County Vaccine Interest Form and on the State’s MyTurn system to be pre-screened and notified of opportunities to receive a vaccine when it is their turn. Register for the Vaccine Interest Form by visiting or by calling (707) 784-8988. Register on the State’s MyTurn notification system by visiting https://MyTurn.Ca.Gov or by calling (833) 422-4255.

For the most recent local COVID-19 health information, including the number of COVID-19 cases and to register for vaccination in Solano County, visit the Solano County website at and on Facebook at (@SolanoCountyPH).

# # #

Solano County records 7 coronavirus deaths in first 3 days of February

By Roger Straw, Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Solano is still in the PURPLE tier – the virus is still spreading and deadly.  This is not over!

Wednesday, February 3: 120 new Solano cases overnight, 2 new deaths.  Since February 2020: 28,410 cases, over 835 hospitalized, 129 deaths.Compare previous report, Tuesday, February 2:Summary

[From Solano County Public Health and others, see sources below.  For a running archive of daily County updates, see my Excel ARCHIVE
    • Solano County reported 120 new cases overnight, total of 28,410 cases since the outbreak started.  In the month of January, Solano added 8,495 new cases, for an AVERAGE of 274 new cases per day.
    • Deaths – the County reported 2 new deaths today, both over 65 years of age; a total of 129 Solano deaths since the pandemic began.  5 new COVID deaths were reported yesterday – what’s going on?!  In the month of January, Solano recorded 24 coronavirus deaths, for an AVERAGE of nearly 1 per day.  While many other COVID stats are improving, the recent surge in deaths is no doubt the final sad result of our holiday surge.
    • Active cases – Solano reported 15 more active cases today, a total of 1,173 active cases.  Compare: Solano’s average number of Active Cases during October was 284, average in November was 650, in December 1,658 – and TODAY we are at 1,173.  Is the County equipped to contact trace so many infected persons?  My guess is we just sit back and wait for a voluntary 10 day quarantine to expire.  Who knows?  To my knowledge, Solano has offered no reports on contact tracing.
    • Hospitalizations – (See expanding ICU capacity and ventilator availability below.)  Today, Solano reported 2 fewer currently hospitalized cases, total of 116.  However, in the number of hospitalizations among age groups, the county reported an increase of 7 new hospitalizations.  The County reported 1 new hospitalization in the 18-49 year age group, 4 hospitalizations in the 50-64 year age group and 2 more in the 65+ age group, for a total of 839 hospitalized in all age groups since the pandemic began.) Even then, accuracy cannot be certain – note>>  In a December 31 Fairfield Daily Republic article, reporter Todd Hanson wrote, “Since the start of the pandemic, and as of Wednesday, 9,486 residents have been hospitalized.”  This startling number is far and away above the number of residents hospitalized as indicated in the County’s count of age group hospitalizations, and not available anywhere on the County’s COVID-19 dashboard.  Asked about his source, Hanson replied that Solano Public Health “had to do a little research on my behalf.”  It would be good if the County could add Total Hospitalized to its daily Dashboard update.  [For the numbers used in my manual calculation of total hospitalizations, see age group stats belowFor COVID19-CA.GOV numbers, see BenIndy page, COVID-19 Hospitalizations Daily Update for Solano County.]
    • ICU Beds – Solano hospitals recently expanded their ICU capacity [see Benicia Independent, “Why the sudden improvement in our ICU bed numbers?“]  Even with the expanded ICU capacity, Solano County has dropped back and remains in the YELLOW DANGER ZONE in ICU beds available, same as yesterday, at 22%.  The State’s COVID19-CA.GOV reported today that Solano County had ONLY 10 AVAILABLE ICU BEDS as of yesterday, February 2(For COVID19-CA.GOV info see BenIndy page, COVID-19 Hospitalizations Daily Update for Solano County, and for REGIONAL data see COVID-19 ICU Bed Availability by REGION.)
    • Ventilators available – Last week, for the first time since July 24 of last year, Solano County is reporting the percentage of ventilators available.  Today Solano hospitals have 65% of ventilators available, up noticeably from yesterday’s 51% but down substantially from last summer’s reports of 82-94% available.

Solano County reported our 7-day average positive test at an alarming rate of 14.7%, up from yesterday’s 14.4%, and well above the State’s purple tier threshold of 8%Average percent positive test rates are among the best metrics for measuring community spread of the virus.  COMPARE: The much lower and more stable California 7-day average test rate was down from yesterday’s 6.4% to 6.1% today(Note that Solano County displays past weeks and months in a 7-day test positivity line graph which also shows daily results.  However, the chart does not display an accurate number of cases for the most recent days, as there is a lag time in receiving test results.  The 7-day curve therefore also lags behind due to unknown recent test results.) 

By Age Group
  • Youth 17 and under – 7 new cases overnight, total of 3,284 cases, representing 11.6% of the 28,410 total cases.  No new hospitalizations reported today among this age group, total of 17 since the outbreak began.  Thankfully, no deaths have ever been reported in Solano County in this age groupBut cases among Solano youth rose steadily over the summer, from 5.6% of total cases on June 8 to 11% on August 31 and has plateaued at over 11% since September 30.  Youth are 22% of Solano’s general population, so this 11% may seem low.  The significance is this: youth are SERIOUSLY NOT IMMUNE (!) – in fact at least 17 of our youth have been hospitalized since the outbreak began.
  • Persons 18-49 years of age – 76 new cases overnight, total of 15,691 cases. This age group is 41% of the population in Solano, but represents 55.3% of the total cases, by far the highest percentage of all age groups.  The County reported 1 new hospitalization among persons in this age group today.  A total of 243 are reported to have been hospitalized since the outbreak began.  Solano recorded no new deaths in this young group today, total of 9 deaths.  Some in this group are surely at high risk, as many are providing essential services among us, and some may be ignoring public health orders.  I expect this group is a major factor in the spread of the virus.
  • Persons 50-64 years of age – 23 new cases overnight, total of 5,949 cases.  This age group represents 20.9% of the 28,410 total cases.  The County reported 4 new hospitalizations among persons in this age group today.  A total of 228 are reported to have been hospitalized since the outbreak began.  No new deaths were reported in this age group today, a total of 19 deaths.
  • Persons 65 years or older – 14 new cases overnight, total of 3,475, representing 12.2% of Solano’s 28,410 total cases.  The County reported 2 new hospitalizations among persons in this age group today, a total of 351 hospitalized since the outbreak began.  2 new deaths were  reported in this age group today.  A total of 101 of our elders have died of COVID, accounting for 78% of Solano’s 129 total deaths.
City Data
  • Benicia added 2 new cases overnight, total of 807 cases since the outbreak began.
  • Dixon added 4 new cases overnight, total of 1,683 cases.
  • Fairfield added 23 new cases overnight, total of 7,778 cases.
  • Rio Vista added 4 new cases overnight, total of 272 cases.
  • Suisun City added 1 new case overnight, total of 1,911 cases.
  • Vacaville added 34 new cases overnight, total of 7,516 cases.
  • Vallejo added 52 new cases overnight, total of 8,357 cases.
  • Unincorporated areas remained steady today, total of 86 cases.
Race / Ethnicity

The County report on race / ethnicity includes case numbers, hospitalizations, deaths and Solano population statistics.  This information is discouragingly similar to national reports that indicate significantly worse outcomes among black and brown Americans.  Note that all of this data surely undercounts Latinx Americans, as there is a large group of “Multirace / Others” which likely is composed mostly of Latinx members of our communities.

  • Asian Americans are 14% of Solano’s population, and account for 12% of cases, 12% of hospitalizations, and 17% of deaths.
  • Black Americans are 14% of Solano’s population, and account for 11% of cases, but 17% of hospitalizations, and 23% of deaths.
  • Latinx Americans are 26% of Solano’s population, but account for 13% of cases, 21% of hospitalizations, and 14% of deaths.
  • Multi-race / Others are 7% of Solano’s population, but account for 35% of cases, 18% of hospitalizations, and 12% of deaths.
  • White Americans are 39% of the population in Solano County, but only account for 29% of cases, 30% of hospitalizations and 33% of deaths.


The County’s Coronavirus Dashboard is full of much more information, too extensive to cover here on a daily basis.  The Benicia Independent will continue to summarize daily and highlight significant portions.  For more, check out the Dashboard at

Source: Solano County Coronavirus Dashboard (posted on the County website late today).  ALSO see important daily updates from the state of California at COVID19.CA.GOV, embedded here on the BenIndy at Cases and Deaths AND Hospitalizations AND ICU Beds by REGION.

So we’re back in the COVID Purple Tier – what’s that mean exactly?

By Roger Straw, January 25, 2021

The COVID-19 Purple Tier Mandate – Details



Some significant changes resulting from Solano County’s return to the purple tier include:

      • Restaurants may offer outdoor dining
      • Hair salons, barbershops, and personal services may reopen
      • Outdoor social gatherings involving 25 or fewer people, from three or fewer different households, are now permitted

Remember: PLEASE CONTINUE to physical distance and wear face covering outside of the home.


Find the status for specific activities in your county: COVID19.CA.GOV

BELOW is a convenient SUMMARY CHART from California Department of Public Health (click on each image for larger, easily readable version).  For details on the “modifications” mentioned in the chart, you will need to go to the California Department of Public Health’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy framework.