Yolo County returning to red tier

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Restaurants, gyms and theaters are among the businesses that can resume indoor service on Wednesday now that Yolo County has moved to the red tier. It’s been more than three months since the county last saw red on the state’s color-coded, tier-based blueprint for reopening and this week’s move to the less-restrictive tier owes much to Healthy Davis Together and its asymptomatic testing. That testing in the city of Davis, in addition to the testing being done on the UC Davis campus, has been driving down the county’s test positivity rate and actual case rate over the last month. The state provides a bonus to counties testing more than the state average by adjusting their case rates downward, so Yolo’s actual case rate of 11.1 per 100,000 residents on Tuesday was reduced to 5.6, meeting the red tier requirement of 7 or below for the second week in a row. The two other metrics required to move to red — the test positivity rate and health equity quartile — were also met by the county. The countywide test positivity rate of 1.6 percent now meets the benchmark of the least-restrictive yellow tier while the health equity quartile — which measures test positivity rate in the county’s most disadvantaged areas — was 5.2 percent on Tuesday. The end result is more activities will be allowed in Yolo County. “I am glad that we are finally able to re-enter the red tier,” said Yolo County Supervisor Jim Provenza of Davis. “This will benefit gyms, restaurants, youth sports and many others.” “I would like to caution Yolo County residents to continue observing safe practices such as distancing, wearing face covering and staying away from large gatherings so that we can avoid another surge in cases and a possible return to the purple tier.” The changes effective Wednesday include: * Restaurants may resume indoor dining at 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is smaller. Only household members may share a table. * Gyms and fitness centers may resume indoor activity at 10 percent of capacity. * Retail establishments may increase indoor capacity to 50 percent. * Movie theaters may reopen indoors at 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is smaller. * Schools — elementary, junior high and high schools — may resume in-person instruction. * Youth sports may resume indoor practice at 10 percent capacity. Beginning Friday, competition will be permitted between two teams for outdoor low- and moderate-contact sports and outdoor high-contact sports are permitted with informed consent. * All indoor gatherings are strongly discouraged and limited to 16 people from no more than three households. Yolo County must remain in the red tier for three weeks and meet the metrics of the orange tier for a minimum of two consecutive weeks before being able to progress to that less restrictive tier. Moving to the orange tier will require an adjusted case rate of 3.9 per 100,000 residents or less; a test positivity rate below 5 percent and a health equity quartile below 5.3 percent. Moving to the orange tier would allow businesses to expand their indoor capacity, including to 50 percent for restaurants and movie theaters. Additionally, wineries could open indoors at 25 percent capacity and live audience sports could resume outdoors with limits on capacity and other modifications. On the other hand, if Yolo County’s case rate and test positivity rates head in the wrong direction, the county could move back to the purple tier. Under the state’s rules, if Yolo County’s metrics fall within the purple tier for two consecutive weeks, the state will review the most recent 10 days of data, and if it determines there are objective signs of improvement, the county may remain in the red tier. However, if the county’s most recent 10 days data does not show objective signs of improvement the county must revert to the purple tier. “Moving into the red tier is an indication that COVID-19 cases are declining, but it does not mean that coronavirus has gone away,” said Yolo County Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson. “We cannot let down our guard. Reopening must be done cautiously to avoid a surge in cases. I urge residents to continue taking precautions to keep themselves, their loved ones, and the rest of the Yolo County community safe. Wearing masks, distancing, not gathering indoors, and getting vaccinated when it is your turn remain as important as ever.” Yolo is one of five counties that moved from purple to red this week. The others are Humboldt, Marin, San Mateo and Shasta. A total of nine counties are now in the red tier and two in the orange tier while 47 counties remain purple. Among those purple counties are all of Yolo’s neighbors in the Sacramento region. Sacramento County on Tuesday had an adjusted case rate of 15.3 (which is higher than the county’s actual case rate of 14.9 due to less testing than the statewide average), while Solano County had an adjusted case rate of 12.3.

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