Monterey County COVID-19 numbers rise while it remains in CDC’s ‘moderate’ tier – Monterey Herald

SALINAS – The case rate in Monterey County is 5.6 per 100,000, the test positivity rate is 2.2% and there were 23 hospitalizations, all ticking upward from last week when the case rate was 4.8, the test positivity rate was 1.7% and there were 11 hospitalizations according to the Monterey County Key COVID-19 Metrics web page.

But the Centers for Disease Control still has Monterey County in the “moderate” tier of community transmission, down from “substantial” about two weeks ago which triggered the Monterey County mask ordinance that took effect Nov. 5.

“When we post the different changes in case rates and positivity rates and other metrics, we do acknowledge when we believe that the rate is either stable, increasing or decreasing,” said Monterey County Health Officer Dr. Edward Moreno at the media briefing on Wednesday. “As far as the overall trend, I would say that the case rate still appears to be somewhat stable and we do see that across California. There is concern that hospitalization rates may be going up, but they do not appear to be going up drastically across the entire state on average. At this point I don’t have an explanation for why there seems to be some increase in hospitalizations.”

Moreno said the Monterey County Public Health Department has not received any information regarding the formula the CDC uses.

The CDC currently has a four-tier system to reflect community transmission – low, moderate, substantial and high.

In the past, the county has said it cannot speak to the way the CDC handles data that put Monterey County into the “substantial” tier, but for now the county’s Indoor Face Covering ordinance, which was passed by the Board of Supervisors under its authority, is in effect requiring the use of masks in indoor public spaces.

The exemptions for not wearing face coverings include, when people are in their own homes, if a person is alone or with members of their household in a closed room, office or vehicle, when taking part in an activity where masks cannot be worn such as eating or swimming, where a mask would impede a medical or cosmetic procedure, or at meetings or gatherings where all vaccinated persons show proof of vaccination and unvaccinated persons wear face coverings at all times other than when eating or drinking.

The Monterey County Health Officer continues to recommend that all persons, regardless of vaccination status, wear facial coverings indoors in public settings.

Monterey County has said violations of this ordinance may be processed as an administrative violation and subject to a fee.

Earlier this week the county reported five restaurant complaints concerning noncompliance with the mask ordinance.

Monterey County’s face covering ordinance went into effect Friday and remains in force for 30 days or until rescinded or extended by the Board of Supervisors. It applies to the entire county and cities may choose to enforce it. To report violations of the masking ordinance at non-restaurant businesses or locations, contact the law enforcement agency which serves the community where you live.

Additional information about the ordinance is available in a Mask Mandate Information Sheet at

To report violations of the masking order at restaurants, visit

The California Immunization Registry reports now that Monterey County residents 5-11 years of age are eligible for vaccination, 73% of those Monterey County residents 5 and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccines while 66% of that eligible population is fully vaccinated.

The Sheriff’s Commander Dustin Hedberg said that currently there are no active COVID-19 cases and zero hospitalizations in the jail population of 899. The Sheriff’s Office considers the last outbreak in the jail facility to be over and has taken down the page on its website that posted those numbers. Last week the Sheriff’s Office reported 10 active cases, and zero hospitalizations in the population at that time of 889. The week prior, it reported eight active cases, and no hospitalizations in the population of 898 at that time.

For the latest information on COVID-19 including testing and data visit

To make an appointment for vaccinations visit

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