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Napa County briefly enters “moderate” tier of COVID-19 spread, drops back to “substantial”

COVID-19 update

A fleeting promotion to a slower rate of coronavirus spread in Napa County lasted only a day, leaving behind no changes in mask-wearing and other local safety rules for now.

A decline in the county’s COVID-19 positive cases carried it on Monday to the federal government’s “yellow” tier — the middle of five tiers — indicating a moderate rate of spread, according to Napa County spokesperson Leah Greenbaum. However, new COVID-19 infections reverted the county back to the “orange” level Tuesday, meaning the virus is spreading at a substantial rate, she said Tuesday afternoon.

More movement between the yellow and orange levels remains possible until infection levels drop more substantially, Greenbaum said in an email late Tuesday. Napa County last got its rate of viral spread down to the yellow tier Oct. 26.

The brief stay at the yellow level is far short of a three-week minimum set by most Bay Area counties — all except Solano — as one condition for relaxation of COVID-19 safety rules such as the requirement to wear masks in indoor public areas.

Napa has joined seven other Bay Area counties in basing the loosening or tightening of public safety rules on the ladder of COVID-19 transmission issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The criteria are as follows:

1. A county reaches the "moderate" (yellow) tier of case rates — fewer than 50 new positives per 100,000 residents in the past seven days — as determined by the CDC’s data tracker, and remains there for three weeks.

2. The county health officer determines that COVID-19 hospitalizations are "low and stable."

3. Eighty percent of a county’s total population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or eight weeks have passed since a vaccine has been authorized for children ages 5 to 11.

A lower-dose version of Pfizer’s two-part vaccine last week became the first to get the federal green light for use in younger people. Among Napa County residents who are already vaccine-eligible, 68.5% have received full inoculation so far, according to CDC figures.

Napa County earlier reported 89 infections for the week of Oct. 30 to Nov. 5, up from 72 the previous week. However, the county on Monday added 29 positive tests to its total tally, due to delays in reporting laboratory results from Oct. 25 and Nov. 3.

On Tuesday, 15 more people tested positive for the coronavirus in Napa County, according to the county’s online informational website. Seven hospital patients in the county were being treated for COVID-19, with 16% of local intensive care beds available.

The Napa Valley Unified School District reported 18 positive COVID-19 tests last week, including 16 students and two employees — up from the four students who tested positive during the week of Oct. 25. The latest infection count covers 0.1% of NVUSD’s total student body of 16,603.

The countdown is almost on for children to get vaccinated.  The White House says kids aged 5-11 are weeks away from getting the COVID-19 vaccine. The shots could be shipped as soon as November 2 and children will be able to get the jab at the pediatricians office, their pharmacy and possibly their school.  RJ Proy says hes getting his six year old vaccinated as soon as its possible after a recent COVID scare. Proy says his son - who was four when the pandemic began - needs to learn a life that's not under the shadow of this virus.  I'm going to be more comfortable taking him places, just going out and experiencing things with him when I know he, my wife and I area all vaccinated," Proy said.But not all parents feel that way. Many are still gun shy. Some say theres still more research that needs to be done before they make a final decision. The administration is banking on parents to come around - if they have not yet already. Theyve already ordered 65 million doses and signed up more than 25,000 providers to administer the vaccine.  For now though, there wont be a requirement in most places for kids to get the jab. California is the only state to mandate vaccines in children for school. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday he has no plans to do that during the remainder of his time in office. 

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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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