STOCKTON — As state COVID-19 data forecasts a decrease in transmission this month, Dr. Maggie Park, San Joaquin County Public Health Officer, said the number of positive cases and deaths are improving.
Park presented the latest COVID-19 data from the state to the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors Tuesday, highlighting that the county’s reinfection rate is now out .86%. That means for every person in the county diagnosed with COVID-19, they have the possibility of transmitting the virus to just one person.
In addition, the state is now forecasting that there will be 379 deaths from COVID-19 by Sept. 30. There are currently 331 deaths and 17,620 positive cases.
“This is really great news,” Park said. “It shows transmission is likely slowing. The numbers are getting better. There are a number of factors, but it’s mostly due to compliance and people being careful, because we have a lot less people in the hospitals right now.”
As of Tuesday, Park said there were 104 COVID-19 patients being treated in all seven hospitals throughout the county, 34 of which are in intensive care units. Of the 34 in ICUs, 21 are on ventilators, Park said.
The state is forecasting that only 59 people will be hospitalized with the virus by Sept. 30.
Park’s update comes as Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a new plan for reopening the state’s economy over the weekend.
Newsom placed all 58 California counties in four different tiers, with San Joaquin County assigned to Tier 1, which has the most severe transmission. There are 41 counties in Tier 1 and eight in Tier 2, which is the next step for the county.
There are only two counties in the state in Tier 4, which means they are experiencing minimal transmission.
In order for San Joaquin County to move to the next tier, it must have between four to seven new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people per day over a seven-day average, and a test positivity rate of between 5%-8%.
The county currently has 16.9 new cases per 100,000 residents, and a positive rate of more than 8%.
The earliest the county could move into the next tier would be Sept. 22.
With the new reopening plan laid out over the weekend, hair salons and barbershops have been allowed to operate indoors. Schools, however, must still remain closed to in-person instruction until the new case level is at or below seven cases per 100,000 per day for 14 consecutive days.
Grades K-6 may apply for a waiver when the county’s new case level decreases to 14 cases per 100,000 per day.
Park said she hopes to grant waivers to some schools in the county, but it’s dependent on meeting that new case rate metric.
“We do have many schools that have reached out to us about the waiver,” she said. “It’s on our website, I know many will be applying and I’m expecting some to come in very soon.”
In addition, schools can reopen for in-person instruction once the county is out of Tier 1 for 14 consecutive days.