Dr. Maggie Park, San Joaquin County Public Health Officer, told supervisors on Tuesday that of the seven incorporated cities in San Joaquin County, Lodi has the highest COVID-19 case rate.
Lodi’s case rate per 100,000 residents during the pandemic is 81.59, she said. Communities such as Lathrop, Tracy and Stockton all have case rates of 68.72, 68.62 and 68.13, respectively, while the remaining cities in the county have rates of 51 or less, she said.
Those case rate numbers aren’t helping the county’s overall case rate metric to advance to the orange tier, as it has been hovering between close to seven cases per 100,000 people per day.
“I do believe we’re moving in a direction where we’re reverting back to (the) purple (tier),” Park said. “Unfortunately, this is not just in our county, but in may counties in the state that were experiencing the beginning of what might be a surge.”
As of Monday, the county’s case rate was 6.3 per 100,000 people per day. New numbers determining a county’s tier status won’t be released until Wednesday due to the election, Park said.
If the county’s case rate returns to 7 per 100,000 people per day and remains in that range for a week, it would be relegated back to the purple tier, and businesses would be given three days to close their doors again.
However, the county’s daily testing rate is close to the state’s median of 239 tests a day, she said, and California Department of Public Health officials may not adjust the rate this week if testing remains high.
In that case, the county would remain in the red tier for now.
In addition, Park said the state released new language Oct. 24 that said the CDPH will review a county’s last 10 days of data before demotion to a prior tier.
“So now they’re willing to say that your two consecutive weeks were based on seven-day backlogs, with the purposeful lag in time,” she said. “But we’re willing to look at your most recent 10 days of data to see if you’re making any improvement or progress, and we may allow you to stay in red instead of reverting to purple.”
As of Tuesday, the there have been a reported 22,365 positive COVID-19 cases in the county and 494 deaths since the pandemic began in March.
Over the last two months, since schools were allowed to reopen either through waivers or as the county remained in the red tier, there have been confirmed COVID cases at 19 schools, and 14 classes have been quarantined.
Other quarantine situations have been reported in football cohorts, among school office staff, children on school buses, and among cafeteria workers, Park said.
Last week the county was receiving reports from two or three schools a day, she said, and that four schools reported cases on Friday.
The highest amount of cases since the pandemic began have been among younger adults, Park said, as the 18-24 age group has a case rate of 82.66 per 100,000 people, and the 25-34 age group has a case rate of 81.19 per 100,000.
“These have stood out for the last two weeks as the highest ranking groups by age,” Park said. “These are not the groups that are dying in our hospitals, but these are the groups likely to be asymptomatic and are our silent transmitters. So we believe there is some spread from these groups.”