Yuba County was moved Tuesday into the red tier in the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy system, meaning indoor operations at restaurants, gyms, fitness studios, faith services and personal care services can now resume with certain modifications.
Businesses that were included in the new designation will still be required to have limited capacity, though that will increase if the area continues to improve its COVID-19 metrics and moves into less restrictive tiers.
Sutter County is still in the state’s most restrictive tier, though Bi-County Health Officer Dr. Phuong Luu said they could be moved into the red tier as early as next week.
“While the state has outlined that our businesses can open up further, it’s important now more than ever to keep practicing those tenets,” Luu said. “If we get too lax, cases will rise and we may have to take a step backward. We don’t want that.
“Let’s continue to support our businesses and keep each other healthy by wearing those facial coverings, social distancing, getting your flu shot to avoid a twin-demic, avoiding social gatherings, and staying home when sick.”
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased by eight on Tuesday, bringing the area’s total to 2,978 cases.
Four people were hospitalized as of Tuesday evening, while 77 residents recovered from the virus. Twenty-two local residents have died due to COVID-19 to date.
Aside from some businesses being able to resume indoor operations with modifications, moving into the red tier means that all schools within Yuba County can reopen at full capacity, as long as the county’s metrics hold (between 4-7 new cases each day per 100,000 people, and a test positivity between 5-8 percent) for two consistent weeks. The decision to reopen will come down to each individual school district.
Local health order updated
Luu established a new local health order this week to better align with evolving state processes and guidelines for addressing COVID-19. She said the change was necessary to ensure residents have a clear understanding of what they need to do to progress further into less restrictive tiers.
“My previous May 4 Health Order was written to reflect guidelines and terminology used at that time by state public health officials, but they have greatly revamped their approach since then,” Luu said in a press release. “I want our residents to see a very clear path to reopening, so my new order aligns us with state requirements.”
Luu said the area remains under a health emergency declaration, which is necessary to gain access to state and federal resources to support local response to the virus.
A separate order requiring residents to wear facial coverings when in public is also still in effect.
The pace at which the two counties move from tier to tier depends largely on how well residents continue to practice the tenets of hand hygiene, social distancing, staying home when sick and wearing a facial covering, Luu said.