Yolo remaining in orange as case rates rise

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Yolo County’s lengthy stay in the orange tier of the state’s color-coded COVID-19 blueprint will be extended yet again as the county’s metrics worsened this week. Both the adjusted case rate and the countywide test positivity rate increased during the week ending May 1. The adjusted case rate of 3.3 per 100,000 residents — up from 2.7 the week before — is the highest the county has seen since mid-March. Meanwhile, the test positivity rate increased from 0.6 percent to 0.7 percent. One spot of good news: the health equity quartile, which measures test positivity in the county’s most disadvantaged communities, declined from 2.5 percent to 2.4. County and UC Davis health officials have cited the spread of more infectious variants in the county, particularly the B.1.1.7 or UK variant, as a reason why case numbers are not declining and, in fact, may be rising. As of last week, the UK variant accounted for 75 percent of local cases. With case numbers remaining stubbornly high, the soonest the county can move to the least-restrictive yellow tier — which requires an adjusted case rate below 2 — is now May 26. Moving to yellow would allow businesses like gyms, movie theaters, museums and stadiums to operate at higher indoor capacity and allow others like bars that don’t serve meals to open for the first time in a very long time. Yolo County has been in the orange tier since March 24, with its average number of daily new cases remaining in the double digits. The cities of Woodland and West Sacramento continue to account for the majority of new cases. Since April 9, Woodland has reported 195 new cases and West Sacramento 137, while Davis has reported 55 and Winters just six. Unincorporated areas of the county have accounted for 64 new cases in the last month. Yolo is now one of 38 counties in the orange tier. Nine counties, representing nearly a third of the state’s population, are in the yellow tier and 11 counties — including Sacramento and Solano — remain in the more-restrictive red tier. It’s possible many counties, including Yolo, will remain where they are until mid-June when Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to ditch the tier-based system and reopen the economy fully.

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