Stanislaus County will remain in the red tier for the time being, but residents are urged to remain vigilant with safety precautions because the area is perilously close to falling back into the more restrictive purple tier.
"We just keep hovering right under that purple level," said Stanislaus County Public Health Officer Dr. Julie Vaishampayan.
The California Department of Public Health's weekly findings, released on Tuesday, had Stanislaus County with an adjusted rate of 6.9 cases per 100,000 residents. That rate is just below the 7 per 100,000 for the purple tier. The adjustment comes because the number of people getting COVID-19 tests in Stanislaus County was below the state median.
The testing positivity rate was at 3.9%, which actually falls in the orange tier. In order to move to Tier Three, (moderate), Stanislaus County must remain in the Red Tier for three consecutive weeks and have less than four cases per 100,000 residents and a positivity rate less than 5% for two consecutive weeks. Additionally, the County must meet the health equity metric requirements for testing and resources. The health equity requires larger counties to reduce COVID-19 cases in communities that have seen disproportionate rates of infections.
The County will remain in the red tier for two weeks. At the end of the two weeks, if the numbers have risen, the County could be placed back into the purple tier, which means COVID-19 transmission is widespread. It would also mean curtailments would be enacted for a variety of businesses, including restaurants, malls, salons, gyms and art galleries.
Health officials are urging people to not get complacent about COVID-19 precautions like wearing face coverings, keeping a social distance and frequent hand washing.
"This is the pathway to keep us in red and get us down to orange," Dr. Vaishampayan said.
As of Tuesday, Stanislaus County has had 17,714 COVID-19 cases with 317 of those presumed active and 753 probable cases, according to the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency data. There have been 398 deaths.
The age group experiencing the most cases are those between 25 to 34 years old. This age bracket makes up 21% of the cases, but only 8% of the hospitalizations. Those between the ages of 55 to 64 years have the highest rate of hospitalization at 18%. Those between the ages of 75 to 84 years old account for 28% of the deaths and those 85 years and older account for 27% of the deaths in the county.
The total hospital bed availability in Stanislaus County is at 37.5% and the adult ICU bed availability is at 9.3%.