VALLEJO, Calif. - Solano County could join a handful of other Bay Area counties outside the state's most-restrictive coronavirus pandemic tier as early as next week, the county's health officer said Tuesday.
Speaking to the county's Board of Supervisors, Dr. Bela Matyas said the test positivity rate in the county's census tracts that have been most affected by the pandemic have dipped low enough, as measured by the state's California Healthy Places Index, for the county to be eligible to move into the red tier as soon as next Tuesday.
Solano County's overall test positivity rate has dipped to 2.6 percent, according to state public health data, while the county is averaging nearly 8 new COVID-19 cases per day per 100,000 residents.
The county could also qualify for the red tier with a case rate below seven per 100,000 residents and an overall positivity rate below 8 percent.
By any measure, Matyas said the county has made demonstrable progress in mitigating the pandemic since the state's winter surge.
"I think the fact that we are doing so well with test positivity is an indication of genuine reduction in disease rates in our community," he said.
Solano would be the sixth Bay Area county to move into the red tier if its metrics qualify next week, joining San Mato, Marin, San Francisco, Santa Clara and Napa counties.
Several other Bay Area counties, including Alameda and Solano's neighbor Contra Costa, could also be eligible to move out of the most-restrictive purple tier in the next week or two.
The move to the red tier would allow Solano County to reopen movie theaters, indoor museums and indoor dining at restaurants at 25 percent capacity as well as indoor gyms at 10 percent capacity.
Outdoor youth sports would also be allowed to resume in the county following a move to the red tier.
Matyas also estimated that by late April or early May, the county will have administered coronavirus vaccines to all Solano County residents who want them, particularly with the recent federal approval of the one-shot vaccine developed by Johnson and Johnson.
Some 70,000 county residents have already been vaccinated, according to Matyas, more than one-third of the 180,000 residents who are expected to want to be vaccinated.
However, Matyas noted that estimation reveals a challenge the county, with a population of about 350,000 vaccine-eligible adults, will face in achieving vaccine-induced herd immunity: large-scale declination.
"It's entirely possible that we will actually have done a really good job of vaccinating those who want to by the time the big (quantities) are available," he said. "The next problem is going to be wasted vaccine because we produced all of this that nobody wants."