Del Norte picked up only two new cases of COVID-19 over the past week. As of Thursday morning, the county reported three active cases, 121 inactive cases and one death. There have been three hospitalizations, but none are current.
Curry County broke its winning streak on Sept. 1, reporting the first positive case since Aug. 19. As of the deadline for this edition, the county reported two active cases, 19 recovered cases and zero deaths.
Both Curry County and Del Norte counties reported increases in testing over the past week. The week-to-week increase in Curry County was 57, totaling 1354 as of this week’s print deadline, with a total of 1333 negative results Del Norte’s numbers are higher, in part because they included staff and inmates from Pelican Bay State Prison. The week-to-week increase was 285 with a total of 7,310 tests, of which 7,186 appear to have been negative.
There has been no change in reporting from Pelican Bay State Prison during the past week.
Del Norte County ranks along with eight other counties in California as having “moderate” for COVID-19 transmission as of a map published earlier this week.
“Moderate” is one of four rankings given to the state’s 58 counties. As of Aug. 31, only three counties received a “minimal” ranking, while nine were ranked “substantial” and in the remaining 38 the virus is deemed to be “widespread.”
The new rankings were unveiled late last week as part of California’s new Blueprint for a Safer Economy and replace the state’s earlier county watch list.
The categories are based upon a few metrics — and will be used to determine which sectors of California’s economy can open up — and when.
Ranking are as follows:
• Minimal: Less than one daily new case (per 100k and less than 2% positive tests.
• Moderate: One to 3.9 daily new cases (per 100k) and 2-4.9% positive tests.
• Substantial: 4 to 7 daily new cases (per 100k) and 5 to 8% positive tests.
• Widespread: More than 7 daily new cases (per 100k) and more than 8% positive tests.
If a county’s case rate and positivity rate fall into different tiers, the county remains in the stricter tier.
Every county in California is assigned to a tier based on its rate of new cases and positivity. At a minimum, counties must remain in a tier for at least three weeks before moving forward. Data is reviewed weekly and tiers will be updated on Tuesdays. To move forward, a county must meet the next tier’s criteria for two consecutive weeks. If a county’s metrics worsen for two consecutive weeks, it will be assigned a more restrictive tier. Public health officials are constantly monitoring data and can step in if necessary.
Answers to “Frequently Asked Questions” on the state’s website include why can some businesses reopen and others cannot?
According to the website, activities and businesses that have a lower risk of spreading COVID-19 are allowed to open sooner. Higher-risk activities or businesses aren’t allowed until later tiers. An activity or business’s tier depends on whether it can:
• Accommodate mask wearing at all times (for example, eating and drinking requires removing masks)
• Allow physical distance between individuals from different households
• Limit the number of people per square foot
• Limit time that an individual is at the business or activity
• Limit time of exposure
• Limit mixing of people from different households
• Limit amount of physical interactions of visitors/patrons
• Increase airflow (such as operating outdoors or opening windows and doors)
• Limit activities that are known to increase virus spread (like singing, shouting and heavy breathing)
For areas of the state where the virus is considered widespread, there was a relaxation of restrictions earlier this week. In those counties some businesses and activities will be able to reopen with modifications, including all retail, shopping centers at maximum 25% capacity, and hair salons and barbershops indoors. (These businesses already are allowed to be open in Del Norte County).
And for those who wonder what their county can do to achieve a less restrictive ranking, the state offers this advice:
• Wear a mask in public.
• Wash your hands regularly.
• Keep at least six feet of physical distance when in public.
• Limit mixing with people you don’t live with.