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Another 50 people contract COVID-19 in Napa County during weekend

Another 50 people contract COVID-19 in Napa County during weekend

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COVID-19 update

Fifty more people tested positive for the coronavirus in Napa County over the weekend, after 31 new infections were recorded Friday, the county’s health department announced Monday afternoon.

The latest COVID-19 cases followed a week when a decline in county infection rates leveled off, with 147 positive tests recorded Oct. 1-7 — just one less than the week before. Infections had been declining since reaching a mid-August peak of 324 in a single week, as a more contagious Delta variant of the virus drove up cases from a June low.

All of Napa County’s COVID-19 sequenced lab specimens in recent weeks have been of the Delta strain, compared to about a third of specimens in the spring, the county’s public health officer Dr. Karen Relucio told the Board of Supervisors last week.

Fifteen people were being hospitalized in Napa County for COVID-19 symptoms as of Monday, and no local intensive care beds were available, the county Health and Human Services agency said in its daily online update. The county’s death toll from the virus remained at 98, with the most recent fatality on Sept. 25.

Napa is one of two Bay Area counties, along with Solano, remaining in the “high” tier of COVID-19 spread on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s four-level scale. The region’s seven other counties are at the next lowest “substantial” tier, with caseloads still above the “moderate” and “low” rungs.

Bay Area counties on Thursday jointly announced a path to lifting mask-wearing requirements for public indoor areas that were reimposed in August during the Delta-driven infection surge.

A county must see its infection rate fall to the CDC’s “moderate” level for at least three weeks, achieve a low and stable hospitalization rate as judged by the county public health officer, and fully inoculate 80% of its residents against COVID-19 — with either two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

An alternative to the 80% vaccination requirement is the passage of eight weeks after federal and state authorities authorize a COVID-19 vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds.

Sixty-eight percent of Napa County residents have received the vaccine, including 85% of those old enough for inoculation, but none of the three federally approved vaccines has yet been authorized for patients younger than 12. On Thursday, Pfizer asked the U.S. government to authorize its vaccine for patients as young as 5, and a panel advising the Food and Drug Administration on Oct. 26 will publicly debate the evidence for opening up inoculation to youngsters.

On Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom called the Bay Area’s road map to easing mask-wearing rules “an encouraging sign,” while also offering caution about moving too quickly. “This time last year we were experiencing not dissimilar optimism, only to experience that winter surge,” he said.

California has the lowest per capita rate of new coronavirus cases in the country. It is one of only two states that the CDC rates as having a “substantial" rate of transmission rather than “high" rate experienced in the other 48 states.

The state recorded 67 cases per 100,000 people in the last week; the nation's average is 195. And the state's positivity rate in the last seven days was 2.5% while the country averaged 6.1%.

California’s coronavirus death toll had crossed the 70,000 threshold as of Monday, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. While its total death count is the highest in the U.S., the state’s per capita fatality rate of 177 per 100,000 people in a population of more than 39 million ranks in the nation’s lower third.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report. 

Napa County Public Health Officer Karen Relucio updates residents on the latest developments regarding COVID-19. Video courtesy of Napa County.

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You can reach Howard Yune at 530-763-2266 or hyune@napanews.com

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Public Safety Reporter

Howard Yune covers public safety for the Napa Valley Register. He has been a reporter and photographer for the Register since 2011, and previously wrote for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat, Anaheim Bulletin and Coos Bay (Oregon) World.

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