By CBSLA Staff

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Orange County could graduate from the red to the orange tier of the state’s reopening plan by the end of the month if current COVID-19 trends continue.

It was originally believed that the county would move tiers by April 7, but after an inquiry Tuesday night, the California Department of Public Health said the target date for the county to reach the orange tier is March 31, Orange County CEO Frank Kim said.

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As of Wednesday, the county’s case rate per 100,000 people was 3.3 and the test positivity rate was 1.9%, which would qualify for the least restrictive yellow tier, Kim said. The county’s positivity rate in the health equity category was at 3%.

The latest weekly update from the state, issued on Tuesdays, showed the county’s test positivity rate improved from 2.2% to 2.1%, and the adjusted case rate per 100,000 people on a seven-day average with a seven-day lag improved from 4 to 3.5.

The county’s Health Equity Quartile rate improved from 3.5% last week to 3.2%.

Meanwhile Wednesday, the county reported 82 new COVID-19 cases and 11 additional fatalities.

The numbers brought the county’s caseload to 249,842 and the death toll to 4,646.

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Hospitalizations decreased from 188 Tuesday to 172, while the number of people in intensive care dropped 40 to 36, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

The last time overall hospitalizations were this low was Oct. 26.

Moving up to the orange tier would allow for more business to reopen. Retail stores would not have to limit attendance, and churches, movie theaters, museums, zoos and aquariums could expand attendance to 50% of capacity.

Restaurants could expand indoor-dining to 50%, wineries could offer indoor-service at 25%, and bars that don’t serve food could reopen outdoors for the first time.

Gyms and fitness centers could expand to 25% of capacity, and family entertainment centers could offer indoor attractions such as bowling.

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)