Napa County drops off California coronavirus watch list — with disclaimers

With all the hardship going around, Napa County is celebrating a little victory Friday. It’s been taken off the California’s monitoring list for the number of COVID-19 metrics reported, albeit the county’s figures vary from the state’s.

Napa joins Calaveras, Placer, Santa Cruz and San Diego counties that have been removed from the watch list as of Friday afternoon.

The state had placed the county on a list of 38 jurisdictions on July 13, closing down gyms, churches, hair and nail salons and other higher-risk services such as indoor dining. Those public-facing operations had only been allowed to reopen shortly before that, after having been closed since the county shelter-at-home order went into effect in mid-March.

Still, the announcement comes with a hitch. The milestone requires the county stay on the path of recovery for 14 days, and even then Sacramento would only allow reopening for local schools — if they’ve opted to do so, according to county spokeswoman Molly Rattigan.

But businesses and organizations that have been ordered to close indoor operations must stay that way until the state public health officer rescinds the order on Napa County.

“It’s still up to the state. The schools can reopen if they practice all the proper protocols,” she said. “Even then, I doubt our largest district will reopen.”

When a county comes off the monitoring list, it is still subject to the statewide closure orders issued on July 13. Those orders will remain in affect until the state public health officer determines it is appropriate to modify the order, according to the California Department of Public Health.

The state imposed the restrictions on Napa County, like its neighboring Sonoma, Marin, Solano and Mendocino local governments, for having more than 100 cases per 100,000 people over a two-week period.

Marin and Sonoma county officials didn’t immediately respond to inquiries.

“There are a lot of disclaimers to this data,” Napa County Public Health Officer Karen Relucio said. In fact, the county shows its cases actually stand at 177 per 100,000 residents. “Their methodology is different.”

Officials like Yountville Town Manager Steve Rogers met Friday’s news with “cautious optimism.”

“We’re excited, but we don’t know what this means. We’ve requested clarification from the county and the state,” Rogers told the Business Journal. “It’s Day 1 of 14. I’m sure they’ll have guidance for us.”

The town of Yountville labeled the announcement as “great news,” with a disclaimer that “we still have work to do.”

Citizens were reminded to continue to wear masks, wash their hands and maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from those not living in their households.

To date, California has 650,336 confirmed COVID-19 cases. On just Wednesday, 5,585 new cases were recorded. More than 10 million tests have been conducted.

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