Yolo sees drop in COVID case rate

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Yolo County likely remains at least two weeks away from moving out of the state’s purple tier for counties with widespread risk of COVID-19 transmission, given the county’s elevated daily new case rate.

That adjusted case rate dropped from over 9 per 100,000 residents last week to 7.5 this week, according to data released by the state Tuesday.

However, to move into the red tier that would allow additional businesses to reopen, the county’s daily case rate must go below 7 and remain there for at least two weeks.

The return of thousands of UC Davis students in the next week or two, many of whom will be screened by the university for COVID-19 upon arrival, could make that difficult if the increased testing results in higher daily case rates for the county as a whole.

San Diego County, which has been in the red tier, risks a return to the purple tier given rising cases there, including at San Diego State University.

The university reported Monday that 648 students had tested positive for COVID-19 and said, “the majority of these cases are among undergraduate students living in off-campus housing that (San Diego State University) does not manage.”

On Tuesday San Diego’s adjusted daily case rate topped 7 per 100,000 residents and if it remains above seven for a second week, would likely mean the county is moved to the purple tier.

Some 24,000 UC Davis students, meanwhile, are expected to be living in the region for the fall quarter which starts Sept. 28, according to a university survey. The vast majority will be living in apartments and single-family homes in Davis and surrounding cities. The university plans to test all students moving into university housing next week and expand that testing to all students and staff thereafter.

The impact of that testing on the county’s daily new case rate would likely be seen over the next several weeks.

Daily new case rates are not the only metric used by the state in its tier-based system: a county’s test positivity rate is also taken into consideration.

Yolo County’s test positivity rate — the percentage of all tests producing positive results — continued to drop along with the daily case rate over the last week and stood at 5.8 percent as of Tuesday, according to the state’s calculations.

In addition to having a daily case rate below 7 per 100,000 residents, a county must also have a test positivity rate below 8 percent in order to move from the purple Tier 1 to the red Tier 2.

Moving to Tier 2 would allow a number of Yolo County businesses, including gyms, libraries, nail salons, movie theaters and places of worship to reopen, albeit with restrictions on the number of people allowed in at a time.

Restaurants could also resume indoor dining with a maximum capacity of 25 percent or 100 people, whichever is fewer, and schools could resume in-person instruction.

On Tuesday, three counties made that move, with Inyo, Marin and Tehama joining 14 other counties in the red tier. Yolo County is one of 30 counties that remain in the purple tier, while nine counties are in the orange Tier 3 and two in the yellow Tier 4.

As of Monday, Yolo County has reported a total of 2,689 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The county has averaged about 17.8 new cases per day over the last week, according to the online dashboard. Meanwhile, hospitalizations have remained steady and no deaths have been reported since Sept. 2.

As of Tuesday, the city of Winters has seen 118 residents test positive for COVID-19, including one person on Monday between the ages of 0-17.

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