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Napa County's COVID-19 case rate plateaus

Napa County's COVID-19 case rate plateaus

COVID-19 update

Napa County’s recovery from the COVID-19 Delta variant surge is in a holding pattern.

The county reported 147 new cases from Oct. 1-7. That is one case less than the previous week. The surge hit its peak in mid-August with a weekly count of 324 new cases.

The average age for new cases fell from 41 years old to 35 years old. The highest proportion of cases was among those under 18 at 32%, followed by those in their 20s at 17%, the county reported on Friday.

One hundred percent of Napa County's COVID-19 sequenced lab specimens in recent weeks are the Delta variant, Dr. Karen Relucio, county public health officer, told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. That compares to about 33% in late spring.

“This just shows the significance of how strong and transmissible Delta variant is,” Relucio said.

All indications on Friday were that the county's mandate to wear masks while in public indoor spaces should remain intact for at least a few more weeks.

The county on Thursday — along with other Bay Area counties — announced three criteria to remove the mask mandate. All must be met.

One is for the county to fall to the "moderate" disease transmission tier as determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The county must be in the "moderate" tier for at least three weeks.

The four tiers are "high," "substantial," "moderate" and "low." Napa County is in the "high" tier.

In the nine county Bay Area, only Napa and Solano counties are in the “high” transmission tier. The rest are in “substantial.” In California overall, most counties are in the “high” tier, though even some larger counties such as Los Angeles County are a rung lower in “substantial.”

A second criterion is for hospitalizations to be low and stable, as judged by the county public health officer.

Napa County as of Friday had 16 COVID-19-related hospitalizations.  COVID-19 accounted for about 10% of hospitalizations. Computer prediction models show COVID-19 hospitalizations falling in coming weeks.

“We’re hoping we’re going to get back to normal in November,” Relucio told the county Board of Supervisors. “But that really depends on several factors.”

A third criterion is for 80% of the county's population to be fully vaccinated with two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Napa County has 68% of all residents fully vaccinated, the county reported. It has 85% of eligible residents fully vaccinated —that is what the county usually reports — but that is not the criterion.

An alternative is for eight weeks to have passed since a COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for emergency use by federal and state authorities for 5-year-olds to 11-year-olds.

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Napa County Reporter

Barry Eberling covers Napa County government, transportation, the environment and general assignments. He has worked for the Napa Valley Register since fall 2014 and previously worked 27 years for the Daily Republic of Fairfield.

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