(CN) — California officials have ordered nearly a dozen California counties, including one of the Golden State’s most populous, to impose stricter Covid-19 restrictions and guidelines amid growing statewide and national cases.
As states and local governments around the country grapple with fresh spikes in positive Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations, California Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly announced during a video conference Tuesday that 11 California counties would be moving to more restrictive Covid-19 tiers.
Two counties — Sacramento and San Diego — have been moved into California’s purple or “widespread” tier, the state’s most restrictive. This tier is reserved for counties with a positivity rate of 8% or more countywide and involves the closure of most nonessential indoor business closures.
A handful of other counties including Amador, Contra Costa, Placer and Santa Cruz have fallen back into the red or “substantial” tier, California’s second-most restrictive that includes counites with a 5-8% positivity rate. Some nonessential indoor businesses that had been allowed to reopen must scale back under the red tier.
Modoc, Siskiyou and Trinity counites, meanwhile, were demoted to the orange or “moderate” tier, California’s second-least severe tier intended for counites with 2-4.9% positivity rates that allows some indoor businesses to keep their doors open, albeit with some modifications.
Health officials also reported that Los Angeles County, California’s most populous county, remains in purple tier, a ranking that officials say is unlikely to change anytime soon.
None of California’s 58 counites moved in a positive direction.
Health officials confirmed 5,367 new daily cases on Tuesday alone, inching the state closer to 1 million total cases.
Officials also reported the state is currently experiencing a 7-day test positivity of 4.2%, a rate that has not been seen since August, and that hospitalization rates and patients being treated in the ICU increased 3.4% and 4% respectively just since Monday.
While Ghaly stopped short of saying California is experiencing new “surge” in cases, he nonetheless warned that the current trends for the state are troubling as they look to the near future.
“We anticipate that if things stay the way they are, between this week and next week over half of counties will have moved to a more restrictive tier,” Ghaly said during Tuesday’s conference. “So that’s certainly an indication that we’re concerned, and we have to keep a close eye on what’s happening.”
As of Tuesday, California’s new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people sits at 8.4%, which puts the state squarely in the most restrictive purple tier under that metric. The positivity rate — a 7-day average of all Covid test performed that came back positive — sits at 3.4%.
Tuesday’s new county restrictions come a day after Governor Gavin Newsom told Californians that while the state’s tier system and response to new Covid-19 data is working, people should not abandon their sense of caution over recent reports of a potentially effective Covid-19 vaccine.
“I am concerned that we may be over exuberant that we now have a safe vaccine and people may go back to their usual form,” Newsom said Monday. “The availability to people like you and me is a long way off. Do not take your guard down.”
The governor further noted that once such a vaccine does become available, California’s first responders will be first in line to receive it.
California health officials said during Tuesday’s announcement that on top of continuing to be mindful about maintaining social distancing, practicing good handwashing and wearing a mask while in public, people should also be making an effort to get their flu shots for the year to help prevent the spread of another troubling virus as health care workers continue to fight against Covid-19.Follow @@CarsonAndLloyd
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