As 2020 comes to a close, the COVID case numbers locally and statewide look grim, with a promise of them only worsening following the holidays, where people likely gathered in defiance of health orders.

Statewide metrics

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19 on Dec. 29, including data on intensive care unit (ICU) capacity across the state.

Based on ICU data, four regions — San Joaquin Valley, Southern California, Greater Sacramento and the Bay Area — continue under the Regional Stay at Home Order. 

Projected ICU capacity over the next four weeks in San Joaquin Valley and Southern California remains below 15% and as such both regions will stay under the Regional Stay at Home Order. Once a region’s four-week projection shows an ICU capacity of greater than or equal to 15%, the order will be lifted for that area. ICU projections are calculated daily.

Current Available ICU Capacity by Region

  • Bay Area: 10.4%
  • Greater Sacramento: 19.1%
  • Northern California: 27.9%
  • San Joaquin Valley: 0.0%
  • Southern California: 0.0%

 Current Status of Regional Stay at Home Order by Region

  • San Joaquin Valley: Remains under order because four-week ICU projections are less than 15%.
  • Southern California: Remains under order because four-week ICU projections are less than 15%.
  • Greater Sacramento: Will remain under the order until January 1 at the earliest with potential to extend depending on four-week ICU capacity projections.
  • Bay Area: Will remain under the order until Jan. 8 at the earliest with potential to extend depending on four-week ICU capacity projections. 

The ICU capacity projections are based on four factors: current estimated regional ICU capacity available, measure of current community transmission, current regional case rates and the proportion of ICU cases being admitted. Decreasing community transmission and increasing the health system capacity can help a region’s projected ICU capacity so they can exit the order.  

Statewide, California has 2,187,221 confirmed cases as of Dec. 29. Numbers may not represent true day-over-day change as reporting of test results can be delayed. The 7-day positivity rate is 12.0% and the 14-day positivity rate is 12.6%. There have been 32,374,471 tests conducted in California. This represents an increase of 245,955 over the prior 24-hour reporting period. There have been 24,526 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Local numbers 

As of Dec. 30, the unadjusted new cases per day per 100,000 residents (a 7-day average with a 7-day lag) was 40.1 The adjusted case rate is 24.3. That number, alongside the testing positivity rate in the lowest quartile of the Healthy Places Index at 12.2% leave the county buried deeply in the purple tier. The overall testing positivity rate is 7.6%, which is in the red tier, but with the other numbers so high above the threshold, it’s immaterial.

The case rate per 100,000 for the past 14 days with a seven-day lag is 613.5.

The ICU bed availability within the county is 21.9%, while the Bay Rea region is at 10.4%. There are 774 cases in skilled nursing facilities, and 36 confirmed cases among the homeless population.

While the amount of PPE in hospitals is sufficient, only 57.9% of skilled nursing facilities have 15 days’ worth of PPE on hand.

Steps taken to assist Sonoma County jail in addressing increasing COVID-19 cases

On Dec. 29 it was announced that Sonoma County public health officials are helping the Sheriff’s Office respond to an increase in COVID-19 cases at the Sonoma County Main Adult Detention Facility. The county is working with the Sheriff’s Office to implement twice weekly testing for exposed employees and inmates and reviewing existing practices to identify areas for enhanced measures. 

“Sonoma County is seeing significant community spread of COVID-19, so it is not surprising that individuals are coming into the detention facility with the virus. That’s why we worked with the Sheriff’s Office in the beginning of the pandemic to set up a screening procedure to detect and isolate cases among new inmates,” said Sundari Mase, Sonoma County’s health officer, in a statement. “Public Health staff is working with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office to provide the resources and support to mitigate exposure and reduce the chance for spread in the Main Adult Detention Facility.” 

There have been 28 positive cases, the majority of which are unconnected, at the Ventura Avenue facility in Santa Rosa in the past 30 days. Currently, 11 inmates and two employees are COVID-positive. The majority of the COVID-positive inmates were positive when they arrived at the detention facility. At the beginning of the pandemic, the Sheriff’s Office and health officials worked together to develop a procedure that involves testing and quarantining new inmates, which has been successful in reducing the likelihood of introducing cases into the jail and spreading it to fellow inmates.

Additionally, health officials and the Sheriff’s Office have collaborated to implement proactive measures such as: mandatory mask-wearing by inmates and staff; surveillance testing; air filtration; surface disinfection; reduced interaction between inmates; and significantly reduced visitation. 

 Public Health and the Sheriff’s Office are also taking measures required by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s emergency regulations, including:

  • Providing testing to employees in the exposed workplace at least twice weekly and excluding positive cases and exposures until there are no new cases detected for a 14-day period.
  • The county previously worked with the Sheriff’s Office to implement ventilation changes to mechanical ventilation systems including increasing outside air and improving airflow and utilizing HEPA filters where needed.
  • Reviewing and adjusting mitigation measures and correcting COVID-19 hazards. 

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