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New COVID-19 cases in Napa County down to 7 on Tuesday

  • Updated
COVID-19 update

With coronavirus infection rates slowing locally in recent weeks, Napa County reported seven new cases Tuesday afternoon, a rare single-digit figure.

The small number of new positive tests — the first daily count under double figures since July 13 — is a departure from the double-digit daily totals that have become commonplace since June, when an upswing of infections driven by a faster-spreading Delta variant of the virus raised Napa County’s caseload as high as 324 a week in mid-August. Viral spread has steadily ebbed in the two months since, falling to 129 for Oct. 8-14, down 12% from the previous week.

Also, fewer people are being treated in local hospitals for COVID-19 compared to the summer months, according to Napa County’s informational website on the virus. Six people were hospitalized with the coronavirus in Napa County as of Tuesday, compared to 20 or more on many days during the summertime surge. (Twenty percent of local intensive-care beds were available Tuesday.)

Overall, 602 people have been hospitalized in the county for COVID-19 since the pandemic’s arrival in California in early 2020, and 102 have died, according to the county Health and Human Services agency.

The Napa Valley Unified School District also reported lower infection rates in its latest weekly update, posted to the district website on Tuesday.

Positive cases within NVUSD Oct. 11-15 totaled 18 — 17 students and one staff member — compared to the 41 cases reported among students the week before. Last week’s infections affected 0.1% of the student body, which includes 16,603 children and teenagers across Napa and American Canyon. The district also employs 1,674 staff members.

Napa is one of six Bay Area counties where the rate of COVID-19 spread is in the orange tier for a “substantial” rate of spread, according to the four-level scale used by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The remaining three Bay Area counties — Alameda, Marin and San Mateo — are one tier down at the yellow level for infection rates slow enough to be labeled “moderate,” the second lowest.

All counties in the Bay Area except Solano are using tier levels as one factor in deciding when to ease mask-wearing mandates in indoor public spaces. A county must reduce COVID-19 infections to the yellow tier and stay at that level for three weeks, as well as vaccinating 80% of its total population or waiting eight weeks after a coronavirus vaccine is authorized for children ages 5 to 11. In addition, a county’s health officer must decide that virus-related hospitalizations are “low and stable” enough to justify more lenient masking rules.

Thus far, Marin is the region’s only county to announce it is nearing the conditions needed to relax its mandate, as county health director Dr. Matt Willis announced that mask-wearing regulations would be relaxed if local weekly hospitalizations due to COVID-19 total 15 or fewer going forward.

With reports from Register reporter Howard Yune and SFGate reporter Amy Graff. 

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