Solano County won’t be moving to orange tier anytime soonVallejo Times-Herald, by Thomas Gase, March 30, 2021, | UPDATED: March 31, 2021
Although numerous counties in California such as Alameda and Santa Cruz moved from the COVID-19 red tier to the the less restrictive orange tier this week, Solano won’t be joining them anytime soon.
Solano has been in the red tier for three weeks, but recent data has county health officials concerned that there is a slight chance it could be headed backward and into a more restrictive purple tier once again.
“No, we’re not moving into orange this week,” Solano County Public Health Administrator Jayleen Richards said, with a sigh. “Last week we started to see some data not trending upwards. We could actually go from the red tier back to purple if we don’t start following all the guidelines. We’re not there yet, but I’m worried about the slight increase of positive cases.”
Counties must remain in a tier for at least three weeks before moving to a less restrictive tier. Those counties must also meet the next tier’s criteria for two consecutive weeks to move to a less restrictive tier. If a county’s metrics worsen for two consecutive weeks, it will be assigned a more restrictive tier.
There was speculation Tuesday that Napa County was also going to move into the orange. However, it was announced Wednesday that Napa County will have to stay in the stricter red tier after an uptick in cases. That means winery indoor tasting rooms will remained closed for now.
The new tier assignments for Alameda and Santa Cruz counties will take effect on Wednesday.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Solano County has seen 31,121 cases and 197 deaths, according to the Solano County health site. According to the state website (which has often differed from the county site) there has been 5.5 new COVID cases per day as well as a 1.9 positivity rate (7-day average). The health equity quartile positivity rate is 2.3 percent.
“We’re doing really well in the equity rate measure, but we’re not quite there in other categories,” Richards said. “I want to have businesses reopen and be operating just as much as anyone, but we must keep doing things like masking and keeping a safe distance apart to to keep the elderly and vulnerable healthy.”
Taking in the recent data, Richards said Solano wouldn’t go back into a purple tier this week but she worries about the weeks ahead. She also stated that now the earliest that Solano can move ahead to the orange tier is mid-April.
“We’ll know more in about a week or so,” Richards said. “But the fact that the numbers are going in the wrong direction could be attributed to many things. It could be just an overall feeling that people go to a vaccination clinic to get their shots and they have a feeling that everything is back to normal. Then you add that the sun is out and the weather is better, which is causing large groups again. We’re just not quite there yet.”
The orange tier allows for bars that don’t serve food to reopen outdoors, and lets wineries, distilleries and breweries without food service start seating customers inside.
Bowling alleys and cardrooms can reopen as well, and indoor operations at churches, movie theaters, restaurants and museums would be subject to higher capacity limits.
Amusement parks such as Vallejo’s Six Flags Discovery Kingdom got the green light to welcome the public back starting Thursday, as long as their counties are in the red tier or better, under rules the state previously announced.
After Solano County moved into the red tier, the Vallejo City Unified School District announced that some schools are set to return to class on April 12.
The new tier assignment appeared to similarly allow the Oakland A’s to welcome more fans when its season starts Thursday, because the orange stage bumps up capacity limits for stadiums from 20 percent to 33 percent. The San Francisco Giants are also planning on letting fans back in their ballpark in April.Bay Area News Group writers Nico Savidge and Shayna Rubin contributed to this story.