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Governor praises statewide COVID-19 progress

Posted at 2:35 PM, Sep 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-08 21:29:08-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — California Governor Gavin Newsom praised the state's efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 during his press briefing Tuesday saying the positivity rate continues to drop. But he is still a little concerned about what might happen to those numbers in the following weeks, especially after the Labor Day weekend.

"A lot of progress that's been made in the state of California in getting that positivity rate down to 3.8 percent. But, a point of caution, a point of consideration. Three-day holiday weekends have not been advantageous in the mitigation of the spread of this virus," said Newsom. "If you take a look back at some seminal periods, where we experienced large spreads, large surge of transmissions, they tend to happen 2 to 3 weeks after 4th of july or other holiday weekends."

However, state health officials also announced Tuesday that five counties have advanced from the Purple tier into the Red tier in the state's new four-tier monitoring system, and Gov. Newsom said more are expected to shift as the week progresses.

“We’re monitoring roughly 7 additional counties that we anticipate will be moving over the course of the next week," Newsom said during a press briefing update on the wildfires and COVID-19 status.

The five counties that moved are Amador, Orange, Placer, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz.

The state is now monitoring counties through a four-tier system based on two metrics: daily new cases per 100,000 residents and positivity rate. The color-coded system is broken down into the following:

  • Widespread (purple): Counties with more than 7 daily new cases per 100,000 residents or higher than 8% positivity rate
  • Substantial (red): 4 to 7 daily new cases per 100,000 residents or 5-8% positivity
  • Moderate (orange): 1 to 3.9 daily new cases per 100,000 or 2-4.9% positivity
  • Minimal (yellow): Less than 1 daily new case per 100,000 or less than 2% positivity

According to the state's data, Kern County is in the Purple tier with 7.8 new COVID-19 cases per day per 100k and a positivity rate of 9.9% as of Aug. 31. The adjusted case rate for tier assignment is 9.2, according to the state.

To move into the higher Red tier, Kern County must have a case rate at or below 7 per 100K resident and a testing positivity rate at or below 8%.

In the Purple tier system, the following rules apply:

  • Hair salons: open indoors with modifications
  • Retail: open indoors at 25% capacity
  • Malls: open indoors at 25% capacity and food courts closed
  • Personal care services (nail salons, body waxing, etc.): outdoor only
  • Museums, zoos and aquariums: outdoor only
  • Places of worship: outdoor only
  • Movie theaters: outdoor only
  • Hotels: open with modifications
  • Gyms: outdoor only
  • Restaurants: outdoor only
  • Wineries: outdoor only
  • Bars and breweries: closed
  • Family entertainment centers: outdoor only, like mini golf, batting cages and go-kart racing
  • Cardrooms: outdoor only
  • Non-essential offices: remote work only
  • Professional sports: no live audiences
  • Schools: must stay closed

In the Red tier system, the following rules apply:

  • Hair salons: open indoors with modifications
  • Retail: open indoors at 50% capacity
  • Malls: open indoors at 50% capacity and limited food courts
  • Personal care services (nail salons, body waxing, etc.): open indoors with modifications
  • Museums, zoos and aquariums: open indoors at 25% capacity
  • Places of worship: open indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer
  • Movie theaters: open indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer
  • Hotels: open with modifications, plus fitness centers can open at 10% capacity
  • Gyms: open indoors at 10% capacity
  • Restaurants: open indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer
  • Wineries: outdoor only
  • Bars and breweries: closed
  • Family entertainment centers: outdoor only, like mini golf, batting cages and go-kart racing
  • Cardrooms: outdoor only
  • Non-essential offices: remote work only
  • Professional sports: no live audiences
  • Schools: can reopen for in-person instruction after two weeks out of the purple tier

As of Tuesday, the vast majority of the state - 33 of 58 counties - were in the strictest category, purple. Only three counties -- or 0.1% of the state's population -- were yellow.

Counties must remain in a colored tier for three weeks, and meet the next tier's metrics for two weeks before it can move. Next week the state will enter into the next system monitoring phase in which counties that meet the requirements will be able to move into a different tier.