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.

https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/

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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Santa Cruz County Enters Orange Tier; Latest COVID-19 Case Count

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, CA — More services can now increase indoor capacity after Santa Cruz County moved into the less-restrictive orange tier Monday.

The orange tier is the second-lowest tier in the state four-tiered, color-coded risk system and indicates a “moderate” COVID-19 risk level. Santa Cruz County is seeing reduced COVID-19 transmission levels, but cases are expected to increase into the winter months, the county said in a statement. Nationally, cases have already begun to rise.

The news came hours after county officials announced plans to ramp up testing for the coronavirus and said that an outbreak at a Watsonville skilled nursing facility appears to have subsided.

The following reopenings are now allowed in Santa Cruz County, with safety restrictions:

  • Restaurants (half-capacity indoors)

  • Worship houses (half-capacity indoors)

  • Gyms and fitness centers (25 percent capacity or 100 people indoors; whichever is fewer)

  • Movie theaters (half-capacity indoors)

  • Museums (half-capacity indoors)

  • Retail (full capacity indoors)

  • Bars, breweries and distilleries (outdoor operations only)

  • Wineries (25 percent capacity or 100 people indoors; whichever is fewer)

  • Amusement parks (outdoors only and 25 percent capacity or 100 people; whichever is fewer)

  • Family entertainment Centers (25 percent capacity)

  • Non-essential Offices (indoors with modifications)

  • Live-audience sports (outdoors, regional visitors only; 20 percent capacity)

Residents are asked to continue wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing, staying home when sick and avoiding large group gatherings.

County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel said during a Tuesday morning press conference that an outbreak at Watsonville Post Acute Center — one of seven skilled nursing facilities in the county — appears to have stabilized. No patients are currently infected and there have been no recent new infections, she said.

There were 74 residents of the center when the outbreak first began in mid-September, and 50 residents and 21 staff tested positive for COVID-19, she said. Fifteen deaths have been linked to the outbreak.

Newel said the center has followed all precautions and remained in consultation with county and state officials. The center is not accepting new patients.

“It’s a tragedy, but its probably unavoidable that this happened,” she said.

Mimi Hall, county Health Services Agency Director, announced plans to expand testing capacity in Santa Cruz County. Widespread testing is key to staying in a lesser tier, she said.

The county is seeking to add a testing site in Mid- to North County that can provide 165 tests per day, she said. Officials have also put in a request to the state health department officials to provide resources that would allow the county to double testing capacity at a Watsonville site and provide 330 tests there per day, for four days.

The University of California, Santa Cruz lab has expanded its efforts to regularly test on-campus students and staff, Hall said. The university continues to serve as a backup lab for the county and health system partners.

Newel urged residents to seek COVID-19 testing as soon as they start noticing associated symptoms and get a flu shot. People are more susceptible to COVID-19

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Contra Costa Moves Into Less Restrictive Orange Tier

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY — State health officials on Tuesday gave Contra Costa County the all-clear to proceed into the orange tier, indicating the coronavirus risk level has lessened. County health officials quickly confirmed that all re-openings allowed in the orange tier will take effect immediately.

The orange tier is the second-lowest tier in the state’s four-tiered, color-coded risk system and indicates a “moderate” COVID-19 risk level.

This means that the state will allow loosened business restrictions. Here is the guidance from the state on orange tire openings:

  • Restaurants (half-capacity indoors or 200 people, whichever is fewer)

  • Worship houses (half-capacity indoors or 200 people, whichever is fewer)

  • Indoor swimming pools open

  • Gyms and fitness centers (25 percent capacity or 100 people indoors; whichever is fewer)

  • Movie theaters (half-capacity indoors)

  • Museums (half-capacity indoors)

  • Retail (full capacity indoors)

  • Bars, breweries and distilleries (outdoor operations only)

  • Wineries (25 percent capacity or 100 people indoors; whichever is fewer)

  • Amusement parks (25 percent of occupancy or 500 people, whichever is fewer)

  • Bowling alleys, escape rooms and climbing-wall gyms (at 25 percent occupancy)

  • Non-essential Offices

  • Live-audience sports (20 percent occupancy)

  • Live entertainment (no more than 50 people, if approved by the Health Officer)

Contra Costa County health officials are extremely cautious about the orange tier move. The health department said in a statement, “Contra Costa would not have qualified for the orange tier this week had it not tested more residents than the state average. California adjusts the case rates of high-testing counties downward to reflect their work controlling the virus. Without that adjustment, Contra Costa’s per-capita case rate this week would have been 4.1, which would not qualify for the orange tier.”

Because of that, the county urges everyone who comes into contact with the public to get tested once a month, even if they are not showing symptoms. If you have symptoms, get tested immediately.

In two weeks, the county is eligible for another move. It could move to the least restrictive in the state, stay the same, or it could go backwards to a more restrictive tier.

The latest statistics for Conta Costa County show that 18,817 coronavirus cases have been confirmed, and 243 deaths have been recorded. During October, there have been just nine deaths, six of which have been outside of long-term care facilities.

Here’s a breakdown of where the deaths have occurred (LTCF=long-term care facility):

As Contra Costa moves into orange guidance, the state reminds people to continue wearing masks, practice social distancing, and take precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus, especially as flu season looms.

During his noon news conference, Gov. Gavin Newsom noted that positive coronavirus tests are trending slightly upward.

State Health Officer Dr. Mark Ghaly announced that four counties moved into the orange tier this week. In addition to Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo and Santa Cruz all moved up.

This article originally appeared on the Walnut Creek Patch

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