Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Humboldt Still Seeing Red; County had been Prepared to Stall Move to Purple COVID-19 Risk Tier

Posted By on Tue, Mar 9, 2021 at 12:02 PM

Humboldt County will continue to remain in the “substantial” or red COVID-19 risk tier for at least another week in what was apparently a close call.

State data released at noon shows a local case positivity rate of 2.3 percent and 6.6 cases per 100,000 compared to the California average of a 2.8 percent positivity rate and 8.1 cases per 100,000.

During a COVID-19 update at the board of supervisors' meeting this morning before the new state rankings came out, County Health Officer Ian Hoffman said public health has been in close contact with the state and anticipated Humboldt would remain in the red tier.

However, he said if the state did attempt to move Humboldt into the purple zone he would request an adjudication of that move, which would postpone it a week, leaving red tier restrictions in place at least until next Tuesday.

"If we felt that there were significant outbreaks, or case rates were rising at an alarming rate, we would certainly be supporting going back to the purple tier in order to control the virus — if it were seeming out of control. But that's not the case," Hoffman said, adding that he doesn't want the county to yo-yo between tiers "when things seem stable."

Humboldt was put back in the red tier on Feb. 23, which allowed some businesses can reopen for indoor service, including restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and places of worship, at reduced capacity. But last week, cautions were put out that local numbers could land Humboldt back in the purple, or most restrictive, COVID-19 risk tier.

Except for a brief respite in January — which caught local health officials by surprise  — Humboldt had been in the been in the "widespread" zone since November after the state jumped the county into the highest risk level from the "moderate" level following a surge in cases. 
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