When it comes to its status as far as COVID-19 is concerned, Tulare County may be beginning to turn the corner.

Hopeful signs included significant declines in active cases and hospitalizations over the weekend. The biggest development, though, came when Tulare County's R number fell back into the “likely decreasing category.”

The health department reported there are 148 COVID-19 patients in Tulare County, a decline of 25 since Friday. As of Friday, Sierra View reported it had 34 COVID-19 patients and 13 patients suspected of COVID-19.

The number of active cases also dropped by 520 over the weekend. There are now 3,946 people in Tulare County who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Tulare County's R number which measures the rate of the spread of the virus fell to .85 which is in the “likely decreasing category.” While cases will continue to increase, they're expected to increase at a lower rate than the current level.

The .85 is in the range where Tulare County Health and Human Services Director Tim Lutz said Tulare County needs to be. The number .85 represents the average number of people who would be infected by one infected person.

The health department did report another significant increase in deaths over the weekend as deaths increased by 11 over the weekend. There have now been 542 deaths in Tulare County due to COVID-19.

Tulare County has data on 501 deaths of which 390 were ages 65 and older, 101 were ages 41-64 and 10 were under the age of 41. There have been 158 deaths related to nursing homes and 343 deaths not related to nursing homes. Sierra View Medical Center has had 121 deaths due to COVID-19.

The health department also reported a huge increase in recoveries over the weekend. The number of recoveries increased by 1,324 over the weekend. There are now 39,086 people who have recovered after testing positive for COVID-19.

The number of overall cases increased by 815 over the weekend. Since March 11 there have been 43,574 cases in Tulare County.

Tulare County's case rate also continues to gradually head in the right direction. Tulare County's unofficial, preliminary rate is 65.1 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day period, a decline of 1.3 from Friday.

Tulare County is back in the most restrictive tier, purple, after the stay-at-home order was lifted on Monday. For Tulare County to move into the next least restrictive tier, the red tier, it must reduce its case rate to 7 per 100,000.

Since March 11 there have been 8,672 cases in the Porterville area, 119 cases in Springville, 36 cases in foothill-mountain communities, 620 cases in Terra Bella, 564 cases in Strathmore, 1,642 cases in Lindsay, 7,679 cases in Tulare, 3,782 cases in Dinuba, 296 cases in Richgrove, 69 cases in Alpaugh, 708 cases in Pixley, 318 cases in Tipton, 1,295 cases in Earlimart, 1,076 cases in Farmersville, 927 cases in Exeter, 44 cases in Three Rivers, 804 cases in Woodlake, 682 cases in Cutler, 1,280 cases in Orosi, 85 cases in Goshen, 223 cases in Traver, 50 cases in the Reedley area, 17 cases in Orange Cove and 455 cases in Ivanhoe.

In Visalia there are 4,808 cases in one region, 3,123 cases in another region and 3,783 cases in a third region.

There have been 6,376 cases ages 0-17, 6,811 cases ages 18-25, 12,318 cases ages 26-40 and 4,507 cases ages 65 and older.

There have been 23,846 cases who have been Hispanic, 5,810 have been Caucasian, 843 have been Asian, 299 have been African American, 272 have been Native American, 1,409 have been multi-race and 11,095 are unknown.

There are 366 people in Tulare County under self-quarantine being monitored by public health officials.

With a population of about 470,000 people, Tulare County has had a rate of 9.1 cases per 100,000 residents or 9.1 percent.

PROPOSAL ON EVICTIONS

California plans to extend eviction protections through the end of June and could pay off as much as 80 percent of unpaid rent for renters using federal funds as part of an agreement between Governor Gavin Newsom and the state's top two legislators.

The proposal must be approved by the state legislature. The current rules on evictions are scheduled to expire on February 1.

The proposal would prevent landlords from evicting tenants who haven't been able to pay their rent. Tenants must show a “declaration of hardship” and must pay at least 25 percent of their rent from September 1 through January 31.

Under the proposal the state would use $2.6 billion in federal funds to pay off 80 percent of unpaid rent for renters on the condition landlords waive the remaining 20 percent and promise not to event tenants.

This new proposal would extend those protections until June 30. But it would also use $2.6 billion Congress recently approved for California to pay off some of that unpaid rent.

Otherwise the state would pay 25 percent of the tenants' rent, so it figures landlords would take the deal in which 80 percent is paid.

Newsom, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins came to the agreement. The state legislature is scheduled to vote on the proposal on Thursday.

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