Yuba County achieved red tier-qualifying metrics this week and must maintain them for one more week in order to move into the state’s less restrictive red tier next Tuesday.

As of Tuesday, Yuba County was averaging 8.8 new daily cases per 100,000 people with a test positivity of 4.9 percent. Sutter County was averaging 7.2 new daily cases per 100,000 people – it will remain in the state’s red tier.

Eligible Yuba-Sutter residents who have not received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine can register starting at 9 a.m. today (Wednesday) for this weekend’s county-sponsored clinic at yuba.org/vaccines or suttercounty.org/vaccine. Those currently eligible include residents 65 years and older, health care workers, those working in what is considered frontline positions (childcare and education, the food and ag industry, and emergency services); those 18 years and older with underlying medical conditions; and individuals living or working in high-risk congregate settings such as detention facilities, homeless shelters, or behavioral health facilities, along with public transit workers.

“We are expecting that with the president’s and governor’s statements, we will be moving toward a May 1 access by all adults,” said Yuba County Public Health Director Dr. Homer Rice.

Blue Cross Blue Shield is expected to take over as a third-party administrator of vaccines starting March 30. Rice said the local health department will still be involved in the allocation process by reviewing the allocations proposed and giving their input into the number of vaccines that can be administered timely. 

The state will then finalize the allocation decision and providers and the local health department will be notified of their allocation, he said.

Local health departments are pilot testing the new system this week to familiarize their teams.

“Even though vaccines are more available, we still need to be cautious and courteous by following the rules on facial coverings and social distancing,” Rice said. “You may be vaccinated and feel safe, but you don’t want to expose someone else.”

The number of COVID-19 cases in the Yuba-Sutter area increased by seven on Tuesday. 

There are currently 119 open cases in the area.

Twelve people were hospitalized as of Tuesday evening, while 29 virus cases closed. To date, 142 local deaths have been attributed to COVID-19.

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