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Jan. 14: Weekly COVID-19 Update

Though the greater Sacramento region was able to exit the state’s Regional Stay Home Order, Sacramento County saw a continued rise in the number of COVID-19 cases and its positivity rate. As of Wednesday morning, the county’s COVID-19 adjusted case rate stood at 56.6 cases per 100,000 residents, up from last week’s rate of 47.2. The testing positivity rate, adjusted for equity markers, rose to 18.2 percent as of Wednesday. 

Graph showing the Sacramento County Adjusted Cases per 100,000 versus dates. Graph shows that rates are rising.

What does exiting the Regional Stay Home Order mean for schools?

The Sacramento region’s exit from the state’s Regional Stay Home Order is good news overall. But it does not advance the timeline for offering a return to in-person learning. 

San Juan Unified expects to offer in-person learning once Sacramento County reaches the red tier of the state’s COVID-19 risk assessment system for a period of two weeks. Unfortunately, the measurements used to determine what tier the county is ranked in actually worsened this week, with both the number of cases and the positivity rate climbing. 

The state determines whether an area must remain in the Regional Stay Home Order by using current data trends to project where intensive care unit (ICU) capacity will be in the coming weeks. Though the county’s metrics did not improve this week, it is an encouraging sign that as a region the metrics have shifted to indicate that hospital capacities may improve in coming weeks. 

Sacramento County remains deep in the purple tier of the state’s system which prevents schools from returning to in-person learning if they are not already offering it and that employees must continue to work from home whenever possible and minimize congregating with other groups of people. 

Vaccine 

Sacramento County is currently working to administer the vaccine to individuals included in phase 1a of the state’s roll out plan. This phase includes healthcare workers and first responders. Some school nurses have been vaccinated under phase 1a. 

Educators are in phase 1b which Sacramento County officials expect to be able to start in February. Details are still being confirmed but among educators, teachers, instructional assistants and other staff with direct student contact in classrooms will be prioritized for receiving the vaccine followed by those with occasional student or public contact and then those with limited student or public contact. 

It’s important to note that each county is progressing at a slightly different pace in distributing the vaccine depending on their population, the number of doses they’ve received and their ability to organize distribution events. Surrounding counties may reach phase 1b distribution earlier or later than Sacramento County. 

More details on Governor’s Safe Schools for All proposal 

Governor Gavin Newsom announced a proposal aimed at assisting schools in returning to in-person learning this spring through increased COVID-19 testing and technical guidance. The proposal, which would require action by the state legislature to become reality, would not allow schools to open if located in counties with a COVID-19 case rate greater than 28 per 100,000 population. Sacramento County’s case rate is currently at 56.6 cases per 100,000. For those counties where the proposal could take effect, it would only allow for grades TK-6 to return for in-person learning and require COVID-19 testing on a frequent (as often as weekly) basis for all students and adults.