San Joaquin County remains in the most restrictive category of COVID-19 infection rates. State and county health department figures show that infections have dropped substantially since the peak of the pandemic in January, but the rate of that reduction has mostly stalled over the past month.
Under Governor Gavin Newsom’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, a county must have fewer than 10 new daily COVID-19 cases per every 100,000 residents in order to move from the most restrictive purple “widespread” tier to the red “substantial” tier.
The less restrictive tier allows more flexibility for businesses to reopen to customers, such as allowing indoor dining at restaurants, and will affect how schools manage their return to the classroom and to extracurricular activities, including sports.
The state as a whole is at 4.8 new cases per-100,000 residents, but San Joaquin County, with a rate of 10.2 per-100,000, is one of three counties – also including Merced and Inyo counties – to remain in purple.
The state’s figures for San Joaquin County show that the peak of the infection rate back in January the county was at 76.7 cases per-100,000. After Jan. 9 the case rate reduced sharply, reaching 17.1 per-100,000 just five weeks later on Feb. 13. The rate hovered between 10 and 12 daily cases per 100,000 for the next five weeks, and the most recent numbers, recorded on March 20, are the closest yet to moving San Joaquin County into the red tier since the fall.
Figures from the California Department of Public Health show that hospitalization for COVID-19 patients reached its lowest point statewide in the past year on March 28 at 2,596, including 2,254 confirmed and 561 suspected cases. The previous low point was 2,969 on Oct. 24, 2020, and hospitalizations rose to their peak, 22,851, on Jan. 6.
State figures show that nearly 3.57 million people in California have tested positive for the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic just over a year ago. The seven-day average for the rate of new infections went from about 42,600 to less than 10,000 between mid-January and mid-February.
That seven-day average reached just over 2,400 new cases per-day on March 27. That’s the lowest number since last May, when cases were still rising toward the state’s summertime peak of just over 10,000 new daily cases in late July.
The state’s death rate also continues to decline but is still not near the lows of the fall. The seven-day average for daily deaths had reached about 565 per-day the third week of January and was down to about 126 as of March 14, and then to about 170 as of March 30. The death rate had been as low as about 40 per-day during the first two weeks of November.
Hospitalizations in San Joaquin County also are on the decline but have yet to reach the low levels of the fall. The county Emergency Medical Services Agency reported 43 people in the hospital for COVID-19 as of March 26, the lowest number since the peak of 355 on Jan. 6. Hospitalizations had been as low as 23 per-day in mid-October.
The rate of new infections in the county has reached a seven-day average of just under 90 per-day as of March 28, but that average has hovered just below 100 for most of the past month. San Joaquin Public Health Services has reported 69,846 positive cases since the start of the pandemic and 1,301 deaths as of March 31. The county had reported 88 deaths the week ending Jan. 16, the high point for deaths in the county. The death rate in the county has declined substantially since then, with four deaths reported the week ending March 20.
• Contact Bob Brownne at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 209-830-4227.