Tuesday, April 6, 2021

State Slated to Reopen in Mid-June, Humboldt Moves to Orange Tier

Posted By on Tue, Apr 6, 2021 at 11:55 AM

Humboldt County has been moved into the state's "orange," or moderate COVID-19 risk ranking, after long stays in the more restrictive "red" and "purple" tiers.

The new status will allow more business sectors open and expand indoor operations capacity for restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, places of worship and other organizations. (Find more information here.)

The news comes as Gov. Gavin Newsom announced today that the tier system is slated to end June 15, with businesses and other activities across the state allowed to reopen to pre-pandemic levels, depending on two main factors: hospitalizations and vaccination supply numbers. Mask mandates will remain in effect for the foreseeable future, he said.

"This disease is as deadly as it's even been, the thing we've done is suppress the spread," Newsom said at a press conference, noting health officials are mindful of variants and masks are an important part of controlling the disease's spread.

“California has made incredible progress controlling the spread of COVID-19 by staying home, masking, and getting vaccines out quickly to Californians in every corner of the state, including in those communities hardest hit by this pandemic,” California Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghalys said in a news release. “In order to take the next step, we must continue to do our part to keep this momentum moving in the right direction, and that means continuing to wear a mask and ensuring everyone who is eligible gets the vaccine.”

By the end of the month, Newsom said he anticipates the state will have distributed 30 million doses.
California opened up the vaccine line to those 50 years and older on April 1, with residents 16 years and older able to receive a shot starting April. 15.

Humboldt County residents looking to receive a COVID-19 vaccine need to register through the state's My Turn site as part of a transition to Blue Shield taking over vaccine distribution and registration.

Those who filled out the county's vaccine interest form will have to do so again on the state's My Turn website (which can be found here) as county information will not be rolled over to the state's database.

County residents who have already received one dose do not need to use My Turn for scheduling and should receive an email from Public Health or contact from the original provider about second dose information, according to a news release.

The state data released today shows Humboldt County with a test positive rate of 2.0 percent (compared to 2.2 percent last week) and a daily case rate of 3.5 per 100,000 compared to California overall, which has a1.8 positivity rate and 5.1 cases per 100,000. Last week, Humboldt daily cases rate was 4.6 per 100,000.

The move to orange brings Humboldt into the least restrictive zone since late November, when a surge in cases catapulted the county from the “minimal” risk tier, over the “moderate” and straight to the red zone before quickly moving into the "purple," or widespread COVID-19 risk rank.

Except for a brief stint in January, Humboldt stayed in the most restrictive tier before moving back to the red zone in late February.

Over the last few months, the county’s test positivity rate has gone from 3.6 percent in November, to 7.3 percent in December and 9.9 percent in January, before dropping to 6.5 percent in February. In March, it dropped to 4.5 percent.

Humboldt's new ranking officially goes into effect at midnight.

Read the release from the governor's office below:
SACRAMENTO – As California surpasses a major milestone in the fight against COVID — administering more than 20 million vaccine doses, including 4 million in the state’s hardest-hit communities, and with hospitalizations continuing to steadily decline — Governor Gavin Newsom today outlined the state’s next step in the COVID-19 pandemic recovery, moving beyond the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. On June 15, California will fully open its economy if two criteria are met:

If vaccine supply is sufficient for Californians 16 years and older who wish to be inoculated; and If hospitalization rates are stable and low

Everyday activities will be allowed and businesses can open with common-sense risk reduction measures, including encouraging all Californians to get vaccinated and mandating masking, to prevent illness and promote health.

The state will continue contact tracing and testing to detect cases early and contain spread of the virus. The entire state will move into this new phase as a whole. The state will monitor hospitalization rates, vaccine access and vaccine efficacy against variants, with the option to revisit the June 15 date if needed.

“With more than 20 million vaccines administered across the state, it is time to turn the page on our tier system and begin looking to fully reopen California’s economy,” said Governor Newsom. “We can now begin planning for our lives post-pandemic. We will need to remain vigilant, and continue the practices that got us here – wearing masks and getting vaccinated – but the light at the end of this tunnel has never been brighter.”

“California has made incredible progress controlling the spread of COVID-19 by staying home, masking, and getting vaccines out quickly to Californians in every corner of the state, including in those communities hardest hit by this pandemic,” said California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “In order to take the next step, we must continue to do our part to keep this momentum moving in the right direction, and that means continuing to wear a mask and ensuring everyone who is eligible gets the vaccine.”

When California fully reopens the economy, the Blueprint for a Safer Economy will end. However, common-sense health measures such as masking will remain across the state. Testing or vaccination verification requirements will remain in relevant settings. For more information on the state’s move beyond the Blueprint, click here.

All sectors listed in the current Blueprint for a Safer Economy grid may return to usual operations in compliance with Cal/OSHA requirements and with common-sense public health policies in place, such as required masking, testing and with vaccinations encouraged. Large-scale indoor events, such as conventions, will be allowed to occur with testing or vaccination verification requirements. California is able to reopen fully and safely because of our commitment to the equitable distribution of vaccines.

Today, the state reached a total of 4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered to Californians in some of the state’s hardest-hit communities, less than a month after delivering 2 million doses to these communities. The state, in partnership with local government, health care providers and community-based organizations, will continue its extensive efforts to get eligible Californians vaccinated, including its support of expanded hours and access through community clinics and providers, public education campaign, and support for community-based strategies such as canvassing. Equity continues to be the focus of our vaccine efforts, especially as we prepare to fully reopen.

On March 4, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state had set aside 40 percent of vaccine doses for the hardest-hit communities and established an equity metric to increase vaccinations in those communities. Doing so recognizes that the pandemic did not affect California communities equally.

Forty percent of COVID cases and deaths have occurred in the lowest quartile of the Healthy Places Index (HPI), which provides overall scores and data that predict life expectancy and compares community conditions that shape health across the state. California continues to plan for the vaccination of Californians under 16 years of age, protection against new variants and continued tracking and containment of spread. The state stands ready to mobilize additional resources if there is an increase in cases.
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Kimberly Wear

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Kimberly Wear is the assistant editor of the North Coast Journal.

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