Mase: County COVID Cases Trend Downward, But No Improvement in State Tiers Expected

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Speaking to reporters on Monday, Sonoma County’s health officer Dr. Sundari Mase confirmed that the county is experiencing a steady improvement in COVID-19 case rates and very likely its positivity rate as well.

However, Dr. Mase said that the county will not yet emerge from the purple tier, the state’s most restrictive, when new assignments are announced on Tuesday because the improvement has been too recent for restrictions to be lifted.

California assigns all counties to one of four tiers based on case and positivity rates.  Although Sonoma County’s rates have fallen, this improvement must be sustained in order for the state to move it to the next less restrictive tier.  In the latest period in which California issues data, the county’s positivity rate had fallen to 5.6, which meets the state criteria of less than 8, however the case rate was slightly over 10 per 100 thousand over a 7 day period…above the threshold of 7 per 100 thousand.

Because there is a lag time between actions and effect, Dr. Mase says the improvement now underway is likely due to the tighter restrictions ordered weeks ago.  She also cautions that no one knows what impact the recent fires and evacuations will have on COVID-19 numbers in Sonoma County.

Dr. Mase said the county plans to open a drive-up flu vaccination site at the county lab during weekends in October in order to get flu shots distributed to as many people as possible before the virus arrives in Sonoma County this fall and winter.

Statewide, California’s positivity rate has steadily fallen in recent weeks to 3.1 percent, the lowest rate in months.  This comes as hospitalizations are also down statewide.

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