The outlook continues to look bleak as far as the status of COVID-19 in Tulare County is concerned.
The state issued its official data a day earlier than it normally does on Monday and the outlook continued to be bleak for Tulare County.
It's no surprise Tulare County continues to remain in the most restrictive tier, the purple tier, and will remain there for a while. But many counties throughout the state that had been in the next least restrict tier, red, returned to the purple tier as well on Monday.
Data released by the state on Monday for the purpose of tier placement showed an adjusted case rate for Tulare County as a whopping 17.6 per 100,000 over a seven-day period. Tulare County must have a case rate of 7 per 100,000 to move into the red tier.
Before the state came out with its data on Monday, Tulare County Health and Human Services reported a preliminary unofficial rate of 15.4 per 100,000 earlier on Monday. That's an increase of .7 over the previous number reported by the health department.
The state also reported on Monday a jump in Tulare County's overall positive test rate at 7 percent, which is still below the 8 percent threshold to move into the red tier. The county's equity metric positive test rate was last updated at 5.6 percent, which also meets the standard to move into the red tier.
When Tulare County first meets all of the standards it must maintain all of those numbers for two weeks to move into the red tier. Restaurants would then be able to open indoors at 25 percent capacity, churches would be able to open indoors at 25 percent capacity, movie theaters would be able to open on a limited basis and schools would be able to reopen to all students.
As far as local schools, Springville and Woodville are still waiting for their waivers to be approved by the county to reopen for grades K-6. They are seeking to join those such as the Burton School District and Porterville Unified School District that have been cleared to reopen for grades K-6.
Burton has set a tentative reopening date for January 11 while Porterville hopes to reopen up to three elementary schools at least a couple of weeks before the Christmas break.
The increase in the number of cases wasn't as bad over the weekend as it has been. The health department reported 158 more cases over the weekend — about 53 cases per day.
Tulare County Health and Human Services Director Tim Lutz has said the county needs to average 32 cases per day to reach the red tier. And it should be noted the recording of the number of cases over the weekend isn't completed until today.
The number of active cases in Tulare County continued to rise over the weekend, but it was a slight increase. There are now 842 people in Tulare County who have COVID-19, an increase of 24 over the previous number reported.
The department also reported an increase of 133 recoveries over the weekend. There are now 17,911 people in Tulare County who have recovered after testing positive for COVID-19.
Since March 11 there have been 19,054 cases in Tulare County.
The health department reported one more death over the weekend, bringing the total number of deaths due to COVID-19 in Tulare County to 301. The county has data on 297 deaths of which 231 were older than 65, 62 were between the ages of 41 and 64 and four were under the age of 65.
There have been 119 deaths related to nursing homes and 178 deaths not related to nursing homes. The state model projects Tulare County to have 326 deaths by December 16.
Tulare County's R number also continues to rise and is now up to 1.14. That number indicates Tulare County's rate is “likely increase,” meaning the increase in cases is expected to be higher than the current rate of increase.
The number 1.14 represents the average number of people who would be infected by one infected person. The state's R number is 1.22.
Since March 11 there have been 3,320 cases in the Porterville area, 210 cases in Terra Bella, 273 cases in Strathmore, 728 cases in Lindsay, 54 cases in foothill-mountain communities, 3,089 cases in Tulare, 1,997 cases in Dinuba, 143 cases in Richgrove, 28 cases in Alpaugh, 329 cases in Pixley, 119 cases in Tipton, 760 cases in Earlimart, 575 cases in Farmersville, 414 cases in Exeter, 332 cases in Woodlake, 391 cases in Cutler, 687 cases in Orosi, 47 cases in Goshen, 97 cases in Traver, 16 cases in the Reedley area and 11 cases in Orange Cove.
In Visalia there have been 2,287 cases in one region, 1,322 cases in another region and 1,564 cases in a third region.
There have been 2,713 cases ages 0-17, 3,029 cases ages 18-25, 5,464 cases ages 26-40, 5,925 cases ages 41-64 and 1,913 cases ages 65 and older.
There have been 11,043 cases who have been Hispanic, 1,912 have been Caucasian, 357 have been Asian, 94 have been African American, 67 have been Native American, 384 have been multi-race and 5,197 are unknown.
There are 783 people in Tulare County who are under self-quarantine being monitored by public health officials.
As of Friday Sierra View Medical Center reported it had 12 COVID-19 patients and seven patients suspected of having COVID-19. Sierra View has had 52 deaths due to COVID-19.
Sierra View reported six of its 10 ICU beds were in use and five of its 17 ventilators were in use. Sierra View reported it still has no employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 at this time. Sierra View has had a total of 419 positive tests.
With a population of nearly 470 people, Tulare County has had a rate of 1 case per 25 residents or four percent.