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Local experts explain how California dropped to lowest case rate of COVID-19 in the U.S.

California face masks
Posted at 7:31 PM, Apr 25, 2021

The latest data from the CDC shows California has the lowest COVID-19 case rate in U.S., with one tenth the rate of the state with the highest case rate.

The agency says California's case rate is 38.7 cases per 100,000 people.

Michigan is currently the state with the highest case rate at 390.2, with the overall case rate across the United States as 120.4 cases per 100,000.

Community members say it's exciting to see our case numbers going down.

“We really pulled it together. I’m proud of everyone for doing their part, said Savannah Hegelman, a San Luis Obispo County resident.

“I have a son that’s six months old now, so I was in the hospital while one person [was able to] actually go in, and other parent comes out. [I am] pretty excited to see [the case numbers change]," said Santa Maria resident Tristian Gilford.

California saw its worst COVID-19 case rates around January to early February, according to Santa Barbara County Public Health Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso.

Dr. Do-Reynoso says case rates are influenced by things like such as virus variants, local regulations, adherence, and more.

California had rigorous state regulations and that combined with mask wearing, cautious reopening plans, social distancing, and a focus on vaccination got California to where it is today, according to local health officials.

Dr. Do-Reynoso says she sees the states experiencing outbreaks, as those who often did not have the same restrictions as California.

So far, 47% of people in Santa Barbara County and 48% of people in San Luis Obispo County have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Do-Reynoso says her biggest focus moving forward is getting more people vaccinated and attain herd immunity to prevent another surge.

“Herd immunity is not an exact number; it is not a place where suddenly everything stops. It is an incline, the more people vaccinated, the more people with natural immunity, the less able the virus is to spread in the community," explained Dr. Brian Roberts, owner and Medical Director of Med Stop in San Luis Obispo.

"We're shooting for about 80% vaccination rate," Dr. Do-Reynoso said.

Click here for more information on accessing vaccine appointments or testing for COVID-19.