Effective tomorrow, November 17, San Joaquin County will begin enforcing enhanced restrictions on business.

As a result of the increasing rate of COVID-19 infections across the County, California’s Health & Human Services (HHS) Director Mark Ghaly officially announced at 12:00 p.m. today that San Joaquin County, along with 40 counties had been reclassified as Purple within the State’s Blueprint for A Healthy Economy framework. San Joaquin County’s Department of Public Health swiftly announced that effective tomorrow, numerous business restrictions will be enforced County-wide.

The County COVID-19 map published on the State of California’s COVID-19 website. The majority of the state has been reclassified to Purple, reflecting widespread infection. Image courtesy of the State of California.

As of tomorrow, the following businesses will face broader restrictions:

  • Family entertainment centers: Outdoors only with modifications
  • Gyms and fitness centers: Outdoors only with modifications
  • Movie theaters: Outdoors only with modifications
  • Museums, zoos and aquariums: Outdoors only with modifications
  • Places of worship: Outdoors only with modifications
  • Retail: Open indoors with a maximum of 25% occupancy
  • Restaurants: Outdoors only with modifications
  • Shopping centers: Open indoors with a maximum of 25% occupancy
  • Schools that were open prior to today for in person learning, will remain open following state guidance

In a public announcement made soon after the HHS guidance became public, Governor Gavin Newsom stated that “the spread of COVID-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes. That is why we are pulling an emergency brake in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy.”

San Joaquin County’s adjusted case rate has risen to 16.4 cases per day per 10,000 people. In the County’s press release about the reclassification and increased restrictions, Public Health Director Maggie Park urged community members to take precautions, stating that “nobody wants to see business rollback or close, but now, more than ever, we need San Joaquin County residents to step up and take these actions seriously.”

The County’s data dashboard on COVID-19 reflects an increasingly serious situation for COVID-19 in San Joaquin County. The chart shown below in particular illustrates the spiking rate of cases per day in County lines.

The County of San Joaquin’s COVID-19 dashboard provides data on infections in San Joaquin County. This chart indicates cases received by date. The spike at the right end of the graph shows a clear increase in infections in the past two weeks. Image courtesy of San Joaquin County.

The COVID-19 outlook in San Joaquin County looks dire given that hospitalizations in San Joaquin County due to non-COVID-19 causes have intensive care unit (ICU) rooms across the County full.

In its daily press release, the County Office of Emergency Services indicated that ICU rooms across the County were occupied at 104%, with St. Joseph’s Medical Center at 156% capacity and San Joaquin General Hospital at 150% capacity. Only 17% of ICU beds currently house COVID-19 patients.

A chart reflecting hospitalization data in San Joaquin County as of 11/16/2020. Graph courtesy of the SJC Emergency Services Department.

As one might infer from the differential rates of hospitalization in hospitals across the County, case rates in San Joaquin County vary widely by ZIP code. Heavily urbanized ZIP codes 95205 and 95206, close to San Joaquin General and St. Joseph’s Medical Center Hospitals, have the highest rates of infection, standing at 434.86/10,000 cases and 406.26/10,000 cases respectively.

A map of San Joaquin County ZIP codes, weighted for rates of infection per 10,000 residents. Darker red colors show higher rates of infection. Courtesy of San Joaquin County Department of Public Health.

The novel COVID-19 disease outbreak is an evolving story. Check back with Stocktonia News for future updates on its impacts in San Joaquin County.

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