August 2, 2021

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Here’s the lowdown on the new tier coming to California’s reopening framework – SF Gate

3 min read

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that a new color-coded tier will soon be added to the state’s reopening framework, as infection rates in the state continue to plummet and the vaccine rollout accelerates.

Newsom didn’t provide specifics on the new tier, but implied that it will be a level indicating a county has very little, if any, virus circulating and 100% reopening can occur.

“We are working, quite literally, on a green tier and have been now for a number of months, in anticipation of this bright light now at the end of this tunnel,” Newsom said from a Southern California vaccination site at a Wednesday press briefing. “And so we’re working on that. We’ll begin to socialize that.”

Newsom went on: “Twenty-four of our 58 counties are now out of our [most] restrictive tiers. … As we start to reopen, as we get to 10, 15, 20 million vaccinations, get closer and closer to herd immunity, then we will start to make it clear that these tiers were temporary, they’re not permanent, and there’s something beyond orange and yellow — and that green tier will present itself.”

It has been more than a month since Newsom lifted the regional stay-at-home order, permitting Bay Area counties to reopen several business sectors, including outdoor dining and some indoor personal services such as haircuts.

When the order ended Jan. 25, all nine counties in the region moved into the purple tier in the governor’s color-coded reopening framework — and they are now slowly moving into the more lenient red tier. Alameda, Napa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Solano are all in the red tier. Sonoma and Contra Costa remain in the purple tier.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed said Tuesday that San Francisco may move into the orange tier in two weeks on March 24. Breed said that the city’s rapidly declining case and test positivity rates should allow for further reopening in two weeks’ time.

The state’s system sorts counties into four tiers — “purple” (widespread), “red” (substantial), “orange” (moderate) or “yellow” (minimal) — that measure the spread of COVID-19 and dictate what types of businesses and activities are allowed to open. The structure allows counties to be more restrictive and move more slowly than the state in reopening, if they wish.

A county’s tier assignment is based on three metrics: the adjusted case rate (number of new cases per 100,000 residents, adjusted based on testing volume); the positivity rate (percentage of people who test positive for the virus of all individuals who are tested); and a health equity metric.

Counties in the purple category are reporting more than seven new daily cases per 100,000 residents and have positivity rates above 8%. For a county to move into the red tier, it must report an average of four to seven daily cases per 100,000 residents and a test positivity of 5% to 8% for 14 consecutive days. The orange tier requires one to 3.9 cases per 100,000 and a test positivity of 2% to 4.9%, and the yellow less than one case per 100,000 and lower than 2% positivity.

Newsom didn’t share what the requirements would be for a county to move into a green tier.

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