While it's only one day, Tulare County had an encouraging development on Monday. But the county still won't benefit from the state's new relaxed guidelines for reopening businesses quicker.
Tulare County Health and Human Services reported an increase of just six positive COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the total of cases in the county to 1,436.
The department also reported no new deaths, leaving the total of deaths in Tulare County due to COVID-19 at 67.
If Monday's trend continues, that would more than fall in line with new criteria announced by Governor Gavin Newsom for counties that want to reopen their businesses faster.
But in his daily press briefing on Monday, Newsom said new criteria he has issued would enable 53 of the 58 counties to reopen businesses more quickly. He added Tulare County is one of the five counties that wouldn't benefit from the guidelines.
At his daily press briefing, Newsom also named Kings and Los Angeles Counties as those that won't benefit from the new guidelines.
"It's not surprising but there are concerns: As an example, in Tulare County, the skilled nursing facilities. In Kings County, related to meatpacking issues that we're still addressing," said Newsom at his press briefing. "I want to reinforce that just because we're creating capacity and the availability to move into phase two doesn't mean every county is ready."
Tulare County has had two outbreaks at Ruiz Foods plants in Tulare and Dinuba. Tulare County has also had outbreaks at numerous nursing homes and a health facility including Porterville's Sierra Valley Rehab, Lindsay Gardens, Redwood Springs and Linwood Meadows in Visalia and Dinuba Healthcare.
There have been 327 residents at Tulare County nursing homes who have tested positive for COVID-19. Nursing homes also account for 50 of the county's 67 deaths due to the coronavirus.
There has been a movement when it comes to relaxing the state's guidelines to essentially not include or at least consider the affect nursing homes have on the standards.
And Tulare County Board of Supervisors Chairman Pete Vander Poel has singled out Redwood Springs as a “bad actor” when it comes to the county's ability to move forward with reopening businesses. Redwood Springs has had more than 200 COVID-19 cases.
The new criteria calls for counties to have low hospitalization rates that are stable and that their rates of positive cases are low. The new criteria is less stringent than the previous criteria, which included not having any deaths for 14 days.
The new criteria essentially more than doubles the number of COVID-19 cases a county can have from 10 per 100,000 to 25 per 100,000 over 14 days. That would mean Tulare County would have to average about eight to nine cases per day as opposed to three to four cases a day it would need to meet the current criteria. But as it stands now, the new guidelines won't apply to Tulare County.
Another criteria counties could meet is having less than eight percent of the tests they conduct be positive.
Twenty-four smaller counties in the state have been allowed to reopen at a more quicker rate. In these counties, some restaurants have begun offering dine-in service with restrictions.
Newsom said he would announce in coming weeks guidelines that would allow in-store retail shopping, barbers and salons to open and professional sporting events without fans.
Tulare County has reported there has been 127 COVID-19 cases in Porterville and its official tally for Lindsay is 105.
There were 169 cases in Tulare, 285 cases in Dinuba, 11 cases in Southwestern Tulare County, 11 cases in foothill/mountain communities, 11 cases in Strathmore, 64 cases in Farmersville, 19 cases in Exeter, 11 cases in Goshen, 16 cases in Ivanhoe, 11 cases in Traver, 13 cases in Woodlake, 11 cases in the Reedley area and 11 cases in Orange Cove. There are about 600 cases in Visalia.
Twenty-eight cases have been reported as travelers, 694 were person-to-person contact and 714 are still under investigation.
Ninety-eight are ages 0-17, 169 are ages 18-25, 316 are ages 26-40, 497 are ages 41-64 and 356 are ages 65 and older.
The county reported there have been 419 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 who have recovered. There are 1,025 people in Tulare County who are under self-quarantine being monitored by public health officials.
As of 10 p.m. Sunday Sierra View Medical Center reported it had 27 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 10 COVID-19 inpatient cases. Sierra View has reported it has had nine deaths due to COVID-19. The hospital reported it has had 548 tests conducted as of Thursday while 3,445 tests have been done at the Tulare County testing lab as of Saturday.