County hopeful to move into red tier as rates continue to decline, ICU capacity improves

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– During Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors Meeting, San Bernardino County’s Director of Public Health, Corwin Porter, shared encouraging news that our Covid-positive numbers continue to decline.

“We were averaging several thousand a day just a few weeks ago, and now we are just under 600,” said Porter. “The other good news is that our positivity rate continues to drop. It’s now at 10.6 percent, but that number needs to drop to 8 percent before we can move into the red tier. Our ICU capacity is also slowly improving.”

According to Porter, once the County moves into the red tier, grades 7-12 could resume in-person instruction. “When our average adjusted case rate is below 25 cases per 100,000 people, we can re-open grades K-6,” he said. “We may be getting very close to that number by the end of this week.”

Porter explained that it is ultimately the school district’s decision whether to reopen for in-person learning. “The waivers are still valid, even though the state has changed some of the parameters,” said Porter. “They have to submit a plan for the new state guidelines. But the districts are excited to have a path forward.”

One of the County’s concerns is the impact of Super Bowl gatherings, which should begin to show up with next week’s data. Porter encourages residents to continue testing.

Vaccination Update

Andrew Goldfrach, ARMC’s Chief Operating Officer, said that the County has successfully used 89.5 percent of its allocated first doses, and 42 percent of its allocated second doses. As of February 7, approximately 195,902 San Bernardino County residents had been vaccinated.

Daniel Munoz, County Manager of Emergency Services, said the County is expecting 3,200 people to return for their second dose at the Auto Club Speedway. “We will have more real estate in the Speedway itself, which will help with some of the traffic control issues that arose during the first event,” Munoz said. “We hope that the user experience will be smoother and more efficient for our seniors. The team is focused and energized to provide a better experience.”

New State Guidelines

The County has worked feverishly to adapt to the state’s ever-changing guidelines. This week, Governor Newsom announced that Blue Shield will become the main distributor of the vaccines, beginning February 15. “This could change a lot of our plans and we may have to pivot to other strategies,” said Chief Executive Officer Leonard X. Hernandez. “Rather than Public Health being the (main) distribution point, Blue Shield would be the one sending vaccines to pharmacies, hospitals, etc..” Hernandez said that the County would retain distribution of just 30 percent of the vaccines under the Governor’s new plan.

Despite the hurdles, seniors remain the County’s vaccination focus, and 40,000 new appointments were made available to this demographic last week. Soon, the County’s two mobile units will begin serving senior centers and underserved communities, where transportation may be an issue. Each mobile vaccine unit will be able to serve up to 150 people per day. The mobile units will work closely with the County’s senior nutrition program team to reach our most vulnerable residents.

Resources

Vaccine appointments must be made online at https://sbcovid19.com/vaccine/locations/

To see the current vaccine distribution phases, go to https://sbcovid19.com/vaccine/phases/

For more information or questions about COVID-19, call (909) 387-3911 or email coronavirus@DPH.sbcounty.gov

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