Will orange county move to red tier?

Orange County is currently in the purple tier of California's COVID reopening plan. Most counties across the state have been at the most restrictive purple tier since before winter break. California's mask-wearing mandate is still in effect, unchanged as counties move up from one level to another in the framework. On Tuesday, the state announced that seven counties are moving from purple to red, allowing for some level of additional activities, such as eating inside restaurants, with capacity restrictions.

When the level metrics were updated Tuesday, Orange County had an adjusted daily rate of six cases per 100,000 residents, which met the standard for the red level. As a result, many local businesses and businesses in Orange County will be able to expand capacity or resume operations. With compliance with the equity measure, Orange County is one of 13 counties that will move to a less restrictive level. Orange County had already reached Level Red levels on some indicators, including the number of new cases and test positivity rates, but, like many other counties across the state, it lagged behind in the health equity metric.

The adoption of a state bill created and championed by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva will allow amusement parks to open at Level Red instead of waiting until counties rise to Level Orange, or “Moderate Level,” but not until April 1.In Orange County, those communities include two Anaheim zip codes just south of Fullerton and a densely populated area of Santa Ana. The California Department of Public Health said the state has administered 2 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to communities most affected by the pandemic. But Orange County seems prepared to meet the metrics required to move to the next level, giving the green light to the reopening of more businesses. This change is the result of an adjustment to Plan allocations that were modified after the state administered 2 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to residents of California's most affected communities.

Beginning Sunday, March 14, Orange County will move to Level Red, the State Plan for a Safer Economy, after meeting Level Red metrics. Orange County reported 26 deaths from coronavirus and 172 new infections Saturday in the latest data released by the Orange County Health Care Agency. Just a few weeks ago, almost every county in the state was mired in the Purple or “Generalized” Level, the most restrictive, which limited gatherings only outdoors, and only small ones, and prohibited cinemas, museums, zoos, aquariums and gyms from opening indoors. The March 12 announcement by the California Department of Public Health that 2 million doses of vaccines had been administered to these vulnerable communities to date allowed many counties across the state to move to the least restrictive Red Tier.

Yolanda Splane
Yolanda Splane

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