California and San JoaquinCounty are showing improvement in reducing the number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Even with the latest dip in the numbers, San Joaquin County still needs to continue to slow the rate of coronavirus infections in order to meet state standards for full reopening of businesses and public places.

Three weeks after Gov. Gavin Newsom released his “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” San JoaquinCounty is still in the most restrictive of four color-coded tiers. The purple, “widespread” tier means that bars and nightclubs, concert venues and live theatre, and indoor playgrounds must remain closed. Others businesses, like restaurants, can only operate outdoors.

In order to move to the less restrictive red, or “substantial” tier, the county has to reduce infections to seven or fewer per 100,000 residents and stay there for at least two weeks.

As of Tuesday the county had reported 8.8 infections per-100,000, which is a significant reduction since Newsom rolled out the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. San JoaquinCounty started off at 16.6 cases per-100,000 as of Sept. 1, and reduced that to 11.4 per-100,000 as of Sept. 8.

San JoaquinCounty is also seeing a consistent reduction in the number of COVID-19 patients in the county’s seven hospitals. Hospitals had 53 people being treated for COVID-19 on Wednesday, the lowest number since June 18. Hospitalizations in the county peaked on July 27 at 262 patients.

SutterTracyCommunityHospital had 40 beds in use as of Wednesday, including seven intensive care unit beds. Among those patients at Sutter Tracy, three were being treated for COVID-19, and two of those were in intensive care.

San JoaquinCounty has seen 19,623 cases since early March, when the first cases were reported, including 1,623 cases in Tracy.

New cases in San JoaquinCounty have decreased, but still tend to fluctuate day-by-day. The county reported seven new cases on Sept. 7, the lowest number since May 25, when three cases were reported. The county averaged 85 new cases per-day last week, the lowest rate since mid-June. The highest single-day total was Aug. 8 when 536 cases were reported.

Deaths are on the decline as well, with 15 fatalities in the week from Sept. 9 to 15, the lowest fatality rate since mid-July. There were no deaths for three days in a row, Sept. 5 through 7, the first time since late July that the county went more than two days with no fatalities, and the county went for three more consecutive days, Friday through Sunday, with no deaths from COVID-19.

California has seen a consistent reduction in hospitalizations over the last two months. As of Wednesday, 3,685 people were hospitalized across the state with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infections. That’s the lowest number since the state started reporting hospitalizations in late March, and a consistent drop since hospitalizations peaked on July 21 at 8,820 confirmed and suspected cases.

California has seen 762,963 COVID-19 cases since the first cases were reported in late January. Reports of new cases steadily increased, reaching more than 2,000 new cases per-day in late April, and by mid-June reports of new cases increased sharply.

Last week was the first week since early June when there were multiple consecutive days, Sept. 6 through 10, when fewer than 4,000 cases per-day were reported. The total for Sept. 8, 1,616, is the fewest new cases in a day since May 18, when 1,365 cases were reported. New cases per-day peaked on July 21, when 12,807 cases were reported. Except for a few single-day spikes, cases have been mostly on the decline since then.

Deaths are on the decline too, with about 85 deaths per-day reported last week, the lowest weekly average since mid-July. The most deaths in a single day was 219 on July 31.

• Contact the Tracy Press at tpnews@tracypress.com or 835-3030.

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