SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Orange County inched closer Tuesday to moving to the less-restrictive red tier of the state’s COVID-19 monitoring system, but the county must now keep its current metrics through Sunday.
Once the county meets the requirements, it must hold those rates for another two weeks to qualify for the red tier, allowing more businesses to reopen.READ MORE: 2 Long Beach Grocery Stores Shutting Down Saturday Over Hero Pay Law
The county’s metrics are updated every Tuesday, but those reports reflect numbers through Sunday. As of Sunday, Orange County did not meet the criteria for the red tier.
To get to the red tier, the county has to have a case rate per 100,000 population of 4 to 7, a positivity rate of 5% to 8% and a Health Equity Quartile rate of 5.3% to 8%.
The county’s most recent overall testing positivity rate was at 3.8% and the health-equity positivity rate was at 4.9%, which would put both in the orange tier, said Orange County CEO Frank Kim. The case rate per 100,000 residents, however, was at 7.6, which just qualifies it for the red tier.
However, the state has made an exception that allows a county to move up to the next tier if two metrics are in an advanced tier and one is lagging behind. For instance, if the case rate per 100,000 remained in the purple tier, but the positivity rates were orange, the county could theoretically move up to the red tier if it can maintain those levels for two consecutive weeks, Kim said.
“You’ve got to make it and then hold it for two weeks and one day and then you can reopen,” Kim said.READ MORE: Armed Suspect Caught On Camera Robbing Group Of People In A West Hollywood Alley
“The case rate plateaued,” Kim said. “It was flat the last two days… I thought we’d be closer to the red tier, but we’re not. We didn’t make any progress over the last day, but I still think we’ll make it by next Sunday, but I can’t assure anyone of that.”
As of Sunday, the state’s case rate per 100,000 residents was 8.2, the testing positivity rate was at 4.1% and the health equity quartile positivity rate was 5.3%.
“It was a rainbow,” Kim told City News Service. “For the case rate we were purple, but testing positivity was orange and for the health equity we were red.”
The red tier allows for many more businesses and organizations to reopen. Under the less-restrictive tier, retail stores could allow for half capacity instead of 25%, and museums, zoos and aquariums could reopen for indoor activities at 25% capacity, as could movie theaters, gyms and restaurants.
Meanwhile Tuesday, Orange County reported 186 new COVID-19 cases bringing the caseload to 246,820 and 31 additional fatalities, raising the death toll to 3,952.
Hospitalizations ticked up by six Tuesday bringing the total to 425 but the number of patients with COVID-19 in intensive care unites dropped to 116.MORE NEWS: Motive Unknown After 8 Killed At Indianapolis FedEx Facility
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)