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Bars could close again in Monterey County if Covid-19 case numbers continue to rise. They have been permitted to reopen with guidelines for sanitation, mask-wearing and physical distancing, which at some places has included new or additional patio seating, pictured. 

Fifteen Monterey County residents have died due to complications of Covid-19 as of Tuesday, June 30, the Monterey County Health Department reported. Two were listed over the weekend: one was a death that happened in April but hadn’t been logged into the online system. The other was an adult who died on Saturday who had no underlying conditions.

“We do have cases like this from time to time; it’s a reminder that it’s not just people who have diabetes or heart disease or lung disease who are dying here in Monterey County,” Health Officer Edward Moreno said in a call with reporters on Monday, June 29. “Everyone needs to protect themselves, their family members and stay at home unless you have important business to take care of.”

As cases continue to rise around the state, 19 counties have been placed on California’s Covid-19 watch list due to increased cases, hospitalizations or limited hospital capacity. Monterey County has not yet been named to the list, but officials here are expecting the county may be added soon. The threshold the county needs to remain below is 100 cases per 100,000 residents—Monterey exceeded it by 137 cases per 100,000 three days in a row, Moreno said on Monday.

According to the California State Office of Emergency Services, counties on the monitoring list were there three or more days, with at least seven on the list for 14 days or more. Five were required by the state to shut down bars until further notice because they had been on the list for more than 14 days: Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, San Joaquin and Tulare.

(Some on the list hadn’t allowed bars to reopen yet, including Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties in the San Francisco Bay Area.)

For counties that have been on the monitoring list for more than three days but not more than 14 days, the state is recommending that bars be closed by local health officers.

In other words, it would be up to Moreno to make the call whether to close Monterey County's bars. He told reporters that if the county can bring the trajectory of cases downward, the county might be able to keep bars open.

As of the morning of June 30, Monterey County reported 1,642 cases confirmed since march, with 999 of those patients recovered. On Saturday, the county logged 100 cases, the biggest one-day jump since March. (Worth noting is those figures are based on when test results are received and processed at the Health Department, not necessarily corresponding to the dates of infection or onset of symptoms.) 

Hospitalizations increased by eight cases, according to the county. According to the state website that tracks data by county, there were 33 people hospitalized, seven of them in the ICU on Monday, June 30. Two more hospitalized patients were suspected of having Covid-19, as was one patient in the ICU.

The majority of the positive patients, 27, were being treated at either Natividad or Salinas Valley Memorial hospital in Salinas; five were being treated at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula in Monterey; and one was at Mee Memorial Hospital in King City.

That data jibes with what has been true for some time during the pandemic, with a majority of those infected being Latinos from the agricultural community in the Salinas Valley. Nearly 80 percent of all confirmed cases have been among Latinos, and almost 36 percent of cases listed as working in agriculture. Meanwhile, less than 5 percent of confirmed patients are white, 1.4 percent are Asian and Pacific Islanders, and less than 1 percent are Black, based on cumulative figures since March.

Sara Rubin contributed to this report.

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