Sonoma County is on course to move into the orange tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy by the next week or so if case rates continue to decline and if state efforts to vaccinate those in disadvantaged communities continue to increase according to Sonoma County officials.
“We are still in the red tier, which means that we have substantial spread of the virus. The good news is that our numbers are continuing to drop and we could be in the orange tier if things continue this way for the next week,” Mase said.
As of Monday, March 29, the county’s adjusted case rate is 3.7 new cases per day per 100,000 residents, the lowest case rate the county has seen to date. Though this rate is below the threshold of four cases required to move into the orange tier, the county must maintain this rate for two weeks before the shift can occur.
The county’s overall testing positivity is also at an all-time low of 1.7%, a yellow tier figure. The positivity rate in the lowest quartile of the healthy places index is 2.3%, which is just on the cusp of yellow tier metrics according to Mase.
The yellow tier is the least restrictive tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
“All in all, we are doing quite well. Additionally, the state has now administered about 3.4 million vaccine doses to the most disadvantaged communities. This is significant because once we reach 4 million doses, which could happen in the next week, the state will ease the reopening requirements,” Mase said.
In other words, instead of the threshold being four new cases per day per 100,000 to get into the orange tier, the threshold would be six new cases per day per 100,000 people.
Mase said while they are preparing to move into the orange tier, it is important now more than ever to remain vigilant with safe hygiene practices and protocols such as mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing.
“We want to do this safely, and carefully and avoid surges that other states and regions are experiencing and, in addition to the masks and social distancing, we also need to continue to get tested so we can see where the virus is spreading in our community and avoid outbreaks,” Mase said.
Same day testing appointments are still available via OptumServe.
District 1 Supervisor Susan Gorin reiterated Mase’s statements and urged folks to remain safe and smart.
“We’re still seeing around 30 new virus cases each day in Sonoma County. As we move through the reopening tiers we need to continue to remain vigilant, moving to the orange tier doesn’t mean that it’s time to go back to life as usual and gather in large groups,” Gorin said.
On the vaccination front, as of today at least one dose of vaccine has been administered to 183,173 Sonoma County residents according to county officials and Sonoma County Vaccine Chief Dr. Urmila Shende.
There are 105,752 residents now fully vaccinated and in total, the county has administered 282,785 vaccines to county residents (138,393 Moderna, 138,252 Pfizer and 6,140 Johnson & Johnson).
And while news of the state opening vaccine to adults 50 and older on April 1 and to individuals 16 and older starting April 15 is encouraging, county vaccine allocations have remained flat for the last several weeks and will continue to decrease over the next few weeks.
“As of late yesterday, we were notified that our allocation has been decreased to 12,890 doses next week and is projected to decrease even further the following two weeks,” Sonoma County Supervisor Chair Lynda Hopkins wrote in a letter to state officials on March 27.
According to a county press release, Hopkins, on behalf of the entire board, penned a letter to state health leaders appealing for an increase in vaccines for Sonoma County.
“Sonoma County has been a strong state partner, successfully ramping up capacity to meet the state’s announcements of increased allocations. Significant resources have been directed to expanding our capacity to equitably distribute vaccines. It is disappointing that this effort has been met with a decreasing supply of vaccines for our community,” Hopkins wrote. “We urge you to increase Sonoma County’s overall vaccine allocation so that we can continue to guide equitable vaccinations in our community.”
Despite the projected decrease in allocations, when compared with nine California counties similar in population size to the county, Sonoma County has done more vaccinations on a per-capita basis than any of them according to new state data.