Solano County could move back to purple tier soon: Here’s why

Solano is currently in the red tier in the state of California’s reopening plan, but officials said case rates are increasing and the county could be moved back to the more restrictive purple tier indicating widespread infection.

The county is urging residents to wear face coverings, maintain 6 feet of distance and avoid large gatherings.

Dr. Bela Matyas, the county’s health officer, told KCBS Radio that county residents have recently held several large gatherings, including a funeral with more than 300 people, a wedding and an event at a private ranch attended by dozens.

“In all these situations people were in close contact and not social distancing,” Matyas said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s system sorts counties into four tiers — “purple” (widespread), “red” (substantial), “orange” (moderate) or “yellow” (minimal) — that measure the spread of COVID-19 and dictate what types of businesses and activities are allowed to open. The structure allows counties to be more restrictive and move more slowly than the state in its reopening if they wish.

The county tier status is based on the number of new cases per 100,000 residents and the adjusted positivity rate. This month, the state announced it’s now also taking into account an equity metric to address the fact that low-income, Latino, Black and Pacific Islander communities have been disproportionately impacted.

Each county is assigned its tier every Tuesday, and a county must remain in a tier for 21 consecutive days before moving to the next one. To move forward, a county must meet the next tier’s criteria for 14 consecutive days. A county can move backward by failing to meet the criteria for two consecutive weeks, or if state officials see a rapid rise in hospitalizations.

If Solano were to fall back into the purple tier, restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, and places of worship would no longer be able to host people indoors.

California has a blueprint for reducing COVID-19 in the state: Here's a look at the color-coded tier sytem with criteria for loosening and tightening restrictions on activities.

California has a blueprint for reducing COVID-19 in the state: Here’s a look at the color-coded tier sytem with criteria for loosening and tightening restrictions on activities.

As cases rise in the Solano County, the Department of Health and Social Services reported the first flu and COVID-19 co-infection in a person in the county.

The infected individual is under the age of 65 and Bela told CBS this person works in the healthcare sector though transmission didn’t occur at work.

“This person, to the best of our knowledge, didn’t acquire it in the workplace. They did what so many other people did all over the country: they got together with family and friends and let their guard down,” Matyas said.

The incident is a reminder for residents to get their flu shots, he said.

“With the likelihood of both COVID-19 and seasonal flu activity this winter, contracting either disease may weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to the other disease,” said Matyas said in a statement. “Getting a flu vaccine this year is more important than ever, and flu vaccines are the best way to

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New drug called ‘purple heroin’ claims life in Jefferson Parish, authorities say | Crime/Police

Louisiana officials have reported the state’s first death linked to a new drug called “purple heroin.”

The death was in Jefferson Parish, authorities said Thursday morning. They didn’t release any more information about who died or what happened.

About 30 deaths linked to purple heroin have been reported in the U.S., including in Michigan, Arizona and Minnesota, according to Jefferson Parish Coroner Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich. 

Purple heroin consists of fentanyl, acetaminophen, which is used to treat pain and fevers, and a new drug called brorphine, among other substances.

Brorphine is a synthetic opioid, which Cvitanovich said is “just as potent and dangerous as fentanyl, making it up to 100X more potent than morphine.”

“This drug has the potential to cause widespread harm and is of public health concern,” Cvitanovich said. “The public should be on full alert due to the extreme danger of this drug.”

Purple heroin is commonly packaged as a purple crystal or powder, but has also been seen as a gray or white powder, Cvitanovich said.

Brorphine was first cited in a scientific report in 2018, according to information from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. And the Michigan State Police discovered the drug in May, Michigan officials said.

It wasn’t immediately clear when Louisiana officials began tracking it.

Brorphine is not authorized for any medical uses nor easily discernable in normal hospital blood tests, according to Varun Vohra, a director of the Michigan Poison Center at Wayne State University in Michigan.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Carlie Kollath Wells is a morning reporter at and The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate.

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