Tulare County considered high risk in new Covid metrics

COVID-19 cases in Tulare County stretch over 20 per 100,000 residents making the county high risk for infections according to new CDC metrics

TULARE COUNTY – According to new CDC guidance, over 70% of the U.S. live in areas where healthy individuals no longer need to wear masks indoors. This, however, does not include Tulare County. 

New CDC metrics for measuring community levels of Covid-19 include no recommendation for areas with low or medium community levels to continue masking indoors. Tulare County, along with much of the Central Valley, currently has a high community level, according to the CDC’s website. 

Covid-19 community levels are measured through a combination of three metrics: new Covid-19 cases, new Covid-19 hospital admissions and percent of hospital beds occupied by Covid-19 patients, all per 100,000 residents over the past seven days. 

“We have a case rating this week of 27 new cases per 100,000,” said Carrie Monteiro, public information officer for the Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency. “If you are greater than 20, you’re considered high.”

Although the county’s rates of new cases and hospitalizations are on a downward trend–cases are down 41% from last week, and Covid-19 hospitalizations are down 25% – the percent of cases and hospitalizations per 100,000 residents are high enough to classify it as an area of high community levels. Much of the Central Valley, from Los Angeles up to Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties, are also ranked as having high community levels on the CDC’s website. 

“We do know in the Central Valley, we tend to lag behind other areas,” Monteiro said. “So we’re hoping in a couple of weeks if we continue on the decline that we have been in the past two weeks, we’ll get under this rate.”

Monteiro said that in order for that to occur, the public needs to take precautions like getting vaccinated and self-isolating upon feeling sick. 

As of Feb. 27, 53.92% of Tulare County residents have been fully vaccinated, compared to 84% in San Francisco, which currently ranks as having low community level of Covid-19. However, Los Angeles County–which also ranks as high–has a vaccination rate of 71.74%. 

“Those numbers are always encouraging, that we have in our population that’s protected and boosted from the vaccine,” said Monteirio. “That makes our number of those that are susceptible to catching and becoming infected with Covid-19 lower, which also in turn will prevent transmission rates of the virus circulating in the community.”

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