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January 25, 2021

Monterey, Santa Cruz counties lead Bay Area in Covid-19 positivity rate

CENTRAL COAST—Monterey and Santa Cruz counties were reporting the highest Covid-19 positivity rates in the Bay Area region Friday, according to data reported by the California Department of Public Health.

The positivity rate in Monterey County was 23.2%. In Santa Cruz County it was 18.5%, a 5.7% increase from 14 days ago.

Positivity rate is tallied by comparing the total number of positive cases reported in the last 14 days out of the total number of tests reported in the same period.

The news came on the same day the CDPH announced the Bay Area region’s overall ICU bed capacity was 3%, which the agency said was far too low to loosen restrictions placed upon businesses in response to the increased number of Covid-19 cases. In its daily press release, the state agency said it would assess the region’s four-week ICU projections in the coming days and “announce a formal decision on whether [the] Bay Area meets criteria to exit the order.”

ICU capacity projections for regions that are eligible to exit the stay-at-home order are calculated based on four factors: current estimated regional ICU capacity available, measure of current community transmission, current regional case rates and the proportion of ICU cases being admitted.

ICU beds in Santa Cruz County continue to be scarce, as the county had only one bed available Thursday, according to state data.

Solano County (17.1%) was the only other county in the Bay Area region with a positivity rate over 15%. Larger Bay Area counties such as Santa Clara (10.2%), Alameda (9.4%) and San Francisco (7.2%) were all below the state average of 13.3%.

That concerning news came a day after Santa Cruz County eclipsed 100 Covid-19-related deaths and 10,000 cases overall. County officials reported seven new deaths Thursday through the Health Services Agency dashboard, bringing the death toll to 104 since the start of the pandemic.

More than 7,400 people have recovered from the disease in Santa Cruz County.

Santa Cruz County, according to state data, has conducted more than 155,000 Covid-19 tests, including the 857 tests reported Thursday.

In Monterey County, three new Covid-19-related deaths and 1,096 new cases were reported Friday. That included 29 new cases in the 95076 area code, which includes the small nearby towns of Pajaro and Las Lomas. That county has reported 232 deaths related to Covid-19.

The positivity rates in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties rival those of hard-hit counties in the Southern California and San Joaquin Valley regions such as Imperial and Kings counties, who on Friday were reporting positivity rates of 35.9% and 31.1%, respectively. 

Neighboring San Benito County, which is in the San Joaquin Valley region, reported a 25.1% positivity rate Friday. There was good news, however, as that county’s positivity rate had dropped by nearly 12% since the start of the New Year.

Tony Nuñez
Tony Nuñez
Managing Editor Tony Nuñez is a longtime member of the Watsonville community who served as Sports Editor for five years before entering his current role in 2019. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus, he covers the city, business, housing, entertainment and more.

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