The CDC’s COVID-19 Community Levels are determined by three separate metrics: the COVID-19 case rate (cases/100,000 residents), the number of new hospital admissions per 100,000 people, and the percentage of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients
As Mendocino County residents get ready for their 4th of July weekend, the Center for Disease Control has recommended that residents return to masking indoors because the community level of COVID-19 is considered “high”.
Mendocino County’s COVID-19 Community level designation of “high” is derived from the current COVID-19 case rate (328.53 cases/100,000 residents) and the number of new COVID-19 hospital admissions (19.6 hospital admissions/100,000 residents). While those numbers exceed the threshold to be considered “high”, only 6.2% of Mendocino County’s staffed inpatient beds are in use by a patient with COVID-19, considered “medium” by the CDC.
Once a county’s community level moves into “high”, the CDC recommends masking while in public places and public transportation making sure residents are up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccines, and getting tested if symptoms arise. Other suggested precautions include staying six feet away from others, avoiding crowds, and poorly ventilated spaces, and washing your hands often.
Mendocino County is not alone in this return to recommended masking. Neighboring counties like Lake, Trinity, Sonoma, and Napa. Virtually every county south of Mendocino has met the same fate as their case numbers creep upwards. A notable exception is our northern neighbor, Humboldt County, where the COVID-19 community level is considered “medium”.
Many residents might recall the dramatic effects of these designations earlier in the pandemic. Whether it be the closure of schools, gyms, and movie theaters or the return of the indoor masking requirement, at one point in our experience the virus designations offered by the California Department of Public Health or the Center for Disease Control had tangible effects on our life. Now, local and state public health entities have dialed back these interventions preferring to package them as recommendations.
In early March of this year, Mendocino County’s indoor masking mandate was rescinded. Shortly after masking was no longer required at K-12 schools. In early May, Dr. Coren warned the county of an uptick in COVID-19 cases characterizing the rise as “the beginning of a new wave of COVID.” Dr. Coren, similar to the CDC, recommended masking, vaccinations/boosters, and testing if symptoms appear.
Dr. Coren wrote in a letter to Mendocino County residents on March 4, 2022, why he had chosen to rescind the local indoor masking requirement, “Because our community has learned and continues to learn to cope with the pandemic.” In the same letter, he told residents that despite the requirement being rescinded, indoor masking is “still strongly recommended.”
From the Center for Disease Control to Mendocino County’s Public Health, health officials are approaching COVID-19 by educating the public with the most up-to-date information and recommendations so that the individual can choose what is best for themselves.