Times-Herald (Vallejo)

Solano to stay in red COVID-19 tier

Area heading into the right direction, according to public health administra­tor

- By Thomas Gase tgase@timesheral­donline.com

There’s good, bad an in-between news. On Tuesday, Solano County received some of the later.

Although COVID-19 guidelines were loosened and 80 percent of California’s population are in the orange tier after Tuesday’s reassignme­nt, Solano County will be remaining in the red tier (substantia­l) for now, according to Solano County Public Health Administra­tor Jayleen Richards.

Solano has been in the red tier since March 10, but only a week ago, Richards said that there was a slight chance that the county actually could move backward into a more restrictiv­e purple tier due to some alarming data.

“We are pleased to be trending in the right direction, but we’re going to stay in the red tier for now,” Richards said. “We’re glad we’re not moving backward to the purple tier.”

Officials have said they will loosen the criteria for advancing to the orange and yellow stages

of the reopening plan once California distribute­s 4 million vaccine doses to residents of more than 400 ZIP codes considered most at-risk from the pandemic. Those ZIP codes scored in the bottom 25 percent of the Healthy Places Index, which ranks areas based on several socioecono­mic factors, from education levels to transporta­tion options.

As of Monday afternoon, California had administer­ed 3.96 million doses to residents in the target ZIP codes, and nearly 20 million shots overall. The state is administer­ing about 350,000 doses per day on average, putting it on pace to hit the 4 million-dose goal Tuesday.

Under the new criteria, counties with daily adjusted case rates of less than 6 new COVID cases per 100,000 residents could advance to the orange tier — up from the previous threshold of 4. The benchmark for the yellow tier, the least-restrictiv­e in California’s reopening protocols, would rise from a daily adjusted case rate of 1 per 100,000 residents, to 2 per 100,000.

Solano has seen 31,401 COVID-19 cases, 297 of which are active. There has been 203 deaths and a 5.4 7-day positivity rate per 100,000, although the state site (which has differed from the county site)

lists this number at 2.9. Under the new guidelines, the county would be able to move up to the orange tier, but Richards said that in order to go to the next tier, Solano must continue to pass the old guidelines for two consecutiv­e weeks.

The 15 counties moving from red to orange on Tuesday were Napa, Contra Costa, Sonoma, Siskiyou, Humboldt, Mendocino, El Dorado, San Benito, Monterey, Tulare, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego and Imperial.

However, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Tuesday that he plans to reopen all of California on June 15, roughly nine weeks from now. This is based on two conditions — one, as long as vaccinatio­ns are widely available and two, the number of COVID-19 patients being treated in hospitals remains low.

State Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly said officials will discontinu­e the complex county-by-county system of capacity limits and other restrictio­ns, known as the “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” that has governed businesses since last summer.

Instead, California would allow restaurant­s, bars, stores, movie theaters, museums and practicall­y all other businesses statewide to resume operations without capacity limits both indoors and outside, Ghaly told reporters in a news briefing Tuesday morning.

Some pandemic-era rules would remain in place, namely California’s requiremen­t for people to wear face coverings. Ghaly said there is no time frame for when the state could drop the mask mandate.

“It really means that everyday activities will be allowed and businesses can reopen with common-sense risk reduction measures,” Ghaly said of the June 15 changes. “We can go to movies and the beach and to see families.”

Richards told the TimesHeral­d that she is confident the June 15 date would work for the reopening of the state.

“In mid April the 16 and older crowd will be able to be vacccinate­d so that means it will have been two months since the the entire eligible population could get vaccinated,” Richards said. “However, there is still a lot of work to do though, especially in the hard to reach population­s and zip codes.”

Richards said that of the 400 high-risk zip codes mentioned by Newsom, at least four of them are in Solano County, although she wasn’t sure of the exact ones when speaking with the Times-Herald.

Richards said the weekly shipments of COVID-19 vaccinatio­n doses has not gone down in the last two weeks but it hasn’t increased either. This week she said there are only second doses planned for a Solano County Fairground­s event.

“We have the capacity in Solano County to do so much more,” Richards said. “We can do thousands in a weekend and we’re hoping for more doses so we can do that.”

 ?? JEFF CHIU — ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? A studium worker holds up u sign for people to weur fuce musks before u busebull gume between the Ouklund Athletics und the Houston Astros in Ouklund. Severul counties in Northern Culiforniu could be moving into the orunge tier this week.
JEFF CHIU — ASSOCIATED PRESS A studium worker holds up u sign for people to weur fuce musks before u busebull gume between the Ouklund Athletics und the Houston Astros in Ouklund. Severul counties in Northern Culiforniu could be moving into the orunge tier this week.

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