With COVID-19 cases rising in Siskiyou, could the county slip back to the red tier?

Kelsey Shelton
Mount Shasta Herald
Siskiyou County has been in the orange tier since early April, 2021.

If Siskiyou residents can't stop the COVID-19 case rate from rising, there is danger the state could place the county back in the more restrictive red reopening tier.

"Two weeks ago we were at two to five cases a day, now we are nine to 15 a day," Siskiyou County Public Health Director Shelly Davis told the board of supervisors Tuesday morning. 

"It does concern me with what it will look like going forward," said Davis about a slide back to the red tier.

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Davis told the supervisors that there have been 1,959 positive cases since last year, with 45 currently active. Davis also addressed the flurry of reported deaths, which came from the California Department of Health Care Services. There have been a total of 21 deaths, and this total now includes Siskiyou County residents who died while seeking care out of the county. Since the pandemic began, there have been 156 individuals hospitalized in Siskiyou County.

A nurse  prepares a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Feb. 2, 2021.

South county residents have highest vaccination rate

Davis noted that vaccination efforts are being stepped up, with another mass clinic scheduled in both north and south Siskiyou County, as well one this week in Tulelake.

"Approximately 22% of the population has completed the series. We'd like to see more," Davis said. 

Residents in south Siskiyou have the highest vaccination rate at 43%, Davis noted. The north has 29% of its population vaccinated; the west 13%; and the east has 6%. Now that the state has opened up vaccinations for all residents age 18 and over, younger people and those previously excluded from obtaining the vaccine in the past are the public health department's new focus. 

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Of those who have been vaccinated, 52% have been over the age of 65, and those 50 to 64 make up 25% of total vaccination recipients, said Davis. She hopes that the 23% of those 18-49 who have been vaccinated will go up now that more people are eligible.

District 5 Supervisor Ray Haupt asked Davis about the increase in cases, and whether or not they were from a specific age range.

"It's random," she answered, and varies from those very young to the elderly. "We just have to push vaccinations and it will help."