CHICO — The number of confirmed COVID cases in Butte County declined in the past three months. However, statewide cases are expected to rise through January.
According to the Butte County Public Health Department, 148 people were isolated in Butte county and 27 people were hospitalized by the virus in Butte County as of Dec. 15.
123 cases were confirmed the week of Dec. 7 to Dec. 13. That’s less than half of the 285 cases confirmed Nov. 2 to Nov. 8, and less than one eighth of the peak 990 cases confirmed Sept. 7 to Sept. 8.
Unrelated to the decline in local confirmations, a new statewide mask mandate by California Department of Public Health began Wednesday.
“Since Thanksgiving, the statewide seven-day average case rate has increased by 47% and hospitalizations have increased by 14%,” the California Department of Public Health said in a press release Monday.
The state health department said that the new mandates will be in place until Jan. 15, 2022, and guidance have been updated to curb the spread of COVID-19 and its variants including omicron, which was first confirmed in California on Dec. 1.
While omicron has yet to be confirmed in Butte county, the Butte County Public Health Department acknowledged it is only a matter of time before the variant is detected locally.
“Information about omicron does not change the current recommendations on what residents should do to continue protecting themselves against COVID-19 and its variants: Get vaccinated, get a booster vaccine, wear a face mask when indoors and where required, get tested regardless of vaccination status and stay home if you test positive or have symptoms,” the Butte County Public Health Department said on its website.
The new statewide mandate set by the California Department of Public Health requires all people, including those who have been vaccinated, to wear face coverings in all indoor public settings; though certain health exceptions may apply.
Besides requiring masks, public mega events will now require proof of vaccination or a negative test result a day or two prior, depending on what kind of test is administered. For travelers, the department advises virus testing three to five days after arrival of destination.
Vaccine eligibility in California opened for people aged five and older in early November. As of Wednesday, 51 percent of people in Butte County have been fully vaccinated, and a total of 324 total lives have been lost since March 2020.
General information on COVID in Butte County can be found at http://www.buttecounty.net/ph/COVID19.