COVID outbreak at veterans home could jeopardize Napa County's move to orange tier

Napa County said it is optimistic it may still move into the orange tier of reopening, despite a reported COVID outbreak at the Veterans Home of California in Yountville.

Napa County spokesperson Janet Upton said the county has been tracking an outbreak at the veterans home and is working with the California Department of Public Health on the issue. Two weeks ago, eight cases of the coronavirus were reported at the facility, according to Upton. The latest numbers showed there were 24 cases reported at the facility.

Out of an abundance of caution, the county reran the 24 tests and partial results show the impact isn’t as widely spread. As of Monday afternoon, 14 test results came back negative, two test results were positive, and eight test results were pending. Upton said an outbreak at a living facility is defined by the state as two reported cases within a two-week period.

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It is unclear why the initial test results may have delivered false-positive results for at least 14 people.

"We’re working really hard to get this outbreak taken care of," Upton said. "We’re working closely with the state laboratory and the state infectious disease experts. We’ve been on site for over a week now. We’re hopeful to get that contained shortly."

Once the full results are in that will determine where Napa County falls in the state’s reopening tier. Napa County had been on track to move out of the red tier into the orange tier due to positive trends, but the cases reported from the veterans home put that into question. The full results are expected to be reported in the next couple of days.

Upton said Napa County may also be eligible to move to the orange tier based on the state’s Healthy Places Index, which prioritizes the vaccine for low-income areas. She said the state has given out 3.3 million vaccines in low-income zip codes and when the state hits 4 million vaccines administered, counties can move up a tier regardless of their coronavirus metrics.

"We certainly welcome moving into the orange tier and we're hopeful that if it doesn't happen tomorrow, Tuesday at noon, that it happens in the coming days in the very near future," she said.