Category Archives: COVID-19 tier assignments

Solano County: good, bad and in-between news on COVID-19

Solano County to stay in red COVID-19 tier for now.  Area heading into the right direction, according to public health administrator

A stadium worker holds up a sign for people to wear face masks before a baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and the Houston Astros in Oakland. Several counties in Northern California could be moving into the orange tier this week. (Jeff Chiu-Associated Press)
A stadium worker holds up a sign for people to wear face masks before a baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and the Houston Astros in Oakland. Several counties in Northern California could be moving into the orange tier this week. (Jeff Chiu-Associated Press)
Vallejo Times-Herald, by Thomas Gase, April 6, 2021

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 Times-Herald 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.”

Bay Area News Group writer Nico Savidge contributed to this story.

Map of California COVID tiers: 3 Bay Area counties moving to orange, Solano stays in red

Contra Costa, Napa and Sonoma are out of the red tier

Mercury News, by Bay Area News Group, PUBLISHED: April 6, 2021 at 12:11 p.m. | UPDATED: April 6, 2021 at 12:31 p.m.

Eighty percent of California’s population is in the orange COVID tier after Tuesday’s reassignment.

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

Moving from purple to red was San Joaquin County.

The looser regulations in those counties will take effect Wednesday.

Only two counties — Merced and Inyo — remain in the purple tier, indicating “widespread” risk. They account for less than 1% of the state’s population.

Thirty-two of the 58 counties, with 80.5% of the population, are in the orange tier (“moderate” risk). Of the Bay Area counties, only Solano hasn’t advanced to that tier.

At a press conference Tuesday morning, state Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly said the tier-based system of COVID-19 restrictions is likely to be discontinued on June 15. The mask mandate is expected to remain in effect after that date, but businesses will probably be allowed to open at full capacity, he said.

Click here for the state’s official COVID website, including details of what activities are allowed in the various tiers.

Solano is only Bay Area county remaining in red tier

Newsom shares date for state’s full reopening; three Bay Area counties move to orange tier

Napa County is among three counties expected to reach the orange tier effective Wednesday, enabling wineries and distilleries to host customers indoors without serving meals.
San Francisco Business Times, By Alex Barreira, Apr 6, 2021

After 31 weeks, an end to the tier system is in sight: Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday that the state plans to remove most of coronavirus restrictions on June 15 if vaccinations remain widely available and hospitalization of Covid-19 patients remains low.

At that point 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, state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly told officials on Tuesday morning. Not everything would return to normal immediately — after June 15 California’s mask mandate will remain in place for the foreseeable future, officials said.

“We’re seeing bright light at the end of the tunnel,” Newsom said at the press conference, cautioning that the state will move “soberly and thoughtfully, guided by the data” to the next stage. “Everything being equal on June 15, we’ll be opening up business as usual.”

“The entire state will move into this phase as a whole. This will not be county-by-county,” Ghaly said in a briefing call with reporters Tuesday, reports the Los Angeles Times.

It’s unclear yet how much power local counties will have at their discretion to impose effective modifications to the “full reopening,” such as caps on capacity at event sizes, as San Francisco in particular has used to enforce a more conservative approach to reopening throughout the pandemic.

Newsom also shared that the state has reached its goal of administering 4 million vaccines to residents of low-income-designated areas throughout the state, activating looser criteria for counties to advance to the next tier.

On top of that news, the state included three Bay Area counties — Napa, Sonoma and Contra Costa — among the 16 across the state moving into less restrictive tiers. In the case of those Bay Area counties, they’re moving from the red “substantial” tier to the orange “moderate” tier, opening nonessential offices, indoor bars, and host limited live entertainment events, among other activities, effective Wednesday.

Solano County is the only county in the Bay Area still on the red tier.  Eight of nine Bay Area counties have now reached the orange tier.

If their case numbers continue to improve, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties would be on pace to become eligible for the yellow tier next week.

Here’s what the orange tier counties can expect under the new tier changes, which would become effective Wednesday morning:

  • Bars that don’t serve food can reopen, but can only seat patrons outdoors. Wineries, distilleries and breweries that don’t serve meals can resume hosting customers indoors.
  • Restaurants and movie theaters can increase their indoor capacity to 50% or 200 people, whichever is fewer. Previously, both establishments were limited to 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever was fewer.
  • Retail stores can open to full indoor capacity as long as social distancing is enforced, up from 50% capacity previously.
  • Indoor gyms can expand from 10% to 25% capacity.
  • Museums and places of worship can move from 25% to 50% indoor capacity.
  • Nonessential offices can reopen, but the state is still encouraging remote work.
  • Amusement parks can open outdoors to 25% capacity for counties in the orange zone, or a maximum 500 people, but only in-state visitors are allowed and tickets must be purchased in advance.

On Friday state officials also loosened restrictions on holding indoor events such as conferences and performances for the first time since early 2020. They introduced a sliding scale for the number of visitors that can attend, and venues can increase capacity if visitors are vaccinated or have recent negative tests for coronavirus.

On the orange tier, indoor venues can host up to 15% capacity, and 35% if guests are vaccinated. For events with over 1,500 people, the orange tier allows 10% capacity and 35% if guests are vaccinated.

Video: Benicia, Vallejo in news report on Solano’s tier assignment and increase in cases among young people

As much of the Bay Area moves into orange tier, Solano County will remain in red

KTVU FOX 2, By Debora Villalon, April 6, 2021

Solano County still in red, some concerned of slipping back to purple

No one wants to see a return to the purple tier, but many in Solano County are concerned about the rise in COVID cases among younger people.