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SLO County's adjusted coronavirus case rate improves despite a rise in local patients

San Luis Obispo Tribune logo San Luis Obispo Tribune 11/25/2020 Cassandra Garibay, The Tribune (San Luis Obispo, Calif.)

San Luis Obispo County added 74 coronavirus cases Tuesday as newly released data showed the county’s adjusted case rate fell from the previous week while the unadjusted case rate continued to rise.

The adjusted case rate dropped because of a significant rise in testing, based on state data. The case rate is adjusted by the number of tests conducted per day, and San Luis Obispo County has conducted 651.5 tests per day per 100,000 people, according to the latest dataset.

Ahead of Thanksgiving, the county saw a sharp increase in demand for COVID-19 tests.

According to the California Department of Public Health, San Luis Obispo County’s adjusted case rate decreased 2.1 percentage points from 12.5 to 10.4. That means the county remains at purple tier levels under California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy but is headed in the right direction toward the less restrictive red tier.

However, the county’s unadjusted case rate rose from 17.7 new cases per day per 100,000 people to 20.7 cases per day per 100,000 people.

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The county also saw an improved positivity rate compared to the week prior. According to Tuesday’s data, the county’s positivity rate went from 5.1% to 4.4%,

The state did not release an updated Health Equity metric as of 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Th updated data released Tuesday reflected the case rate and positivity rate from Nov. 11 to Nov. 18.

As of Tuesday, San Luis Obispo County has had a total of 5,885 coronavirus cases since mid-March.

San Luis Obispo County returned to the most restrictive tier under California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy on Nov. 16. That means that many local businesses must revert to extremely limited indoor capacity or close their indoor services altogether.

What tier is SLO County in?

As of Tuesday, coronavirus transmission in San Luis Obispo County was considered “widespread,” according to the state public health department.

Tuesday marked the third consecutive week with an adjusted case rate above the threshold of the red tier — seven new cases per day per 100,000 people. Case rate is adjusted by the number of tests conducted within the county per day.

The county’s adjusted average decreased from 12.5 to 10.2 new cases per day per 100,000 people. Even with the improvement in adjusted case rate, however, the metric remained higher than red tier requirements and the unadjusted case rate continued to spike.

The unadjusted case rate came in at 20.7, 3 points higher than data released the week prior.

The reason for the rise in unadjusted case rate and the decrease in adjusted case rate is a spike in coronavirus testing. According to state data, San Luis Obispo County has conducted an average of 651.5 tests per day per 100,000 people — a drastic increase from the 430.5 tests per 100,000 people that the county reported Nov. 11.

San Luis Obispo County’s positivity rate was at 4.4% as of the latest data, representing a .7-point improvement from the week prior.

The latest health equity metric released Nov. 16 calculated that the positivity rate for people who live in the 12 census tracts in San Luis Obispo County ranked in the lowest quarter of California’s Health Place Index was 4.8%. New data on the health equity metric was not released Tuesday.

New COVID-19 cases by city

Here is where new COVID-19 cases were added Tuesday in San Luis Obispo County, according to ReadySLO.org:

San Luis Obispo: 24

Arroyo Grande: 15

Paso Robles: 13

Nipomo: 5

Grover Beach: 4

Atascadero: 4

Morro Bay: 3

Cambria: 2

Cal Poly (on-campus students): 2

Oceano: 1

Pismo Beach: 1

Cayucos: 1

Los Osos: 1

San Miguel: 1

An additional six cases were listed as under investigation Tuesday. The locations of four cases were listed as “other.”

A total of 40 patients and 77 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 at Atascadero State Hospital, according to the California Department of State Hospitals (DSH), which oversees ASH. The DSH case numbers differ from San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department totals.

Cal Poly’s documented total of coronavirus cases involving both on-campus and off-campus students increased by seven cases, according to the San Luis Obispo university. A total of 833 students, living both on and off campus have tested positive for coronavirus since July.

The number of on-campus students recorded by the university and county may differ because the location of students tested through Cal Poly’s ongoing testing program — a surveillance testing program separate from the university’s Health Center — has not been documented. Students who received tests off campus are also not included in the total.

For a detailed look at local coronavirus cases by age, occupation and more, visit ReadySLO.org.

SLO County coronavirus cases by the numbers

Here’s a look at San Luis Obispo County’s cases on Tuesday, according to the county Public Health Department:

Active cases: 840

Recovered cases: 5,009

People recovering at home: 829

People receiving hospital care: 11

People in intensive care units: 1

Deaths due to COVID-19: 35 (including two California Men’s Colony inmates)

Where to get a COVID-19 test

The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department is urging anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, or those who have come into contact with someone with the virus, to get tested.

Free coronavirus testing is available at clinics throughout San Luis Obispo County:

Grover Beach: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Ramona Garden Park Center, 993 Ramona Ave.

Morro Bay: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Veterans Memorial Building, 209 Surf St.

Paso Robles: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Frontier Pavilion, Paso Robles Event Center, 2198 Riverside Ave.

San Luis Obispo: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Veterans Memorial Hall, 801 Grand Ave.

In addition, COVID-19 testing is available through private healthcare providers, urgent care centers and the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Lab.

Free testing appointments at county-ran sites were booked for several days or weeks in advance as of Thursday.

San Luis Obispo County public health officials urge people to use self-swab at-home tests if they are not experiencing coronavirus symptoms or have not been exposed to a person who has COVID-19.

Visit ReadySLO.org for the latest public health updates and recommendations. ReadySLO.org lists more than a dozen urgent care centers that offer COVID-19 testing.

To make an appointment, visit emergencySLO.org/testing; you can register by phone at 888-634-1123.

How to report a COVID-19 code violation

To report violations of coronavirus-related orders meant to limit the spread of COVID-19, call the San Luis Obispo County COVID Enforcement hotline at 805-788-2222 or email covid-compliance@co.slo.ca.us.

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©2020 The Tribune (San Luis Obispo, Calif.)

Visit The Tribune (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) at www.sanluisobispo.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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