When the Monterey County Board of Supervisors voted on May 26 to submit an application for expedited reopening of the local economy to the California Department of Public Health, the landscape was different. Officials were still working on ensuring sufficient testing capacity could be maintained, hospital officials were working to secure sufficient PPE, and the incidence of Covid-19 in Monterey County was 28.6 per 100,000 population.
Today, that figure is 137.3 per 100,000 population, which puts it on the list of potential counties to receive notice from CDPH for additional monitoring, or walking back some of the reopening status that had previously been granted.
The figure, County Health Officer Edward Moreno said in a press briefing on Monday afternoon, June 29, isn't that bad given the nature of the pandemic—but it is probably enough to catch attention from CDPH.
"For now, we’re not doing too bad, I think, given the fact that we’re in the middle of a pandemic," Moreno said. "It will go up and down, up and down, and should continue to trend upward on a daily basis, because that’s the nature of a pandemic. It's a logarithmic increase."
What that means in practical terms is that as Monterey County's case count, like some other California counties, trends upward is that state officials will encourage some ratcheting down of openings.
"Right now, it doesn’t appear that we’re on a downward trend," Moreno said. "I suspect CDPH will be notifying us that we’ll probably be joining the list of counties that the governor has, and will recommend closures.
"We might be able to bring the positivity rate down below the threshold—then bars will be able to remain open," he said. But given the current data, "it’s likely that the governor is going to contact us and tell us we’re on the watchlist."
On Sunday, June 28, state officials ordered the closure of bars in Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, San Joaquin and Tulare counties.
"Bars generally attract a younger adult population," according to CDPH's proposal for those closures. "While younger adults without co-morbidities tend to have less severe symptoms and overall disease outcomes, increased cases, even in this cohort, will lead to increased hospitalizations and deaths.
"As the virus spreads more broadly in this population, younger individuals become a source of spread to more vulnerable adults and the broader community, a factor that is complicated by the fact that younger individuals have a higher likelihood of asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic infection."