Article by Matt LaFever for Redheaded Blacbelt
Mendocino County is now within the “Yellow Tier,” the least restrictive of California’s COVID-19 tier system called the Blueprint for a Safer Economy designed to reopen business safely while mitigating viral spread. Within the “Yellow Tier,” the virus’s spread in the community is considered “minimal” and “most indoor business operations are open with modifications.”
Mendocino County Public Health Officer Andy Coren said the county’s redesignation demonstrates, “The people of Mendocino County are working hard following the guidelines for living safer.”
Though Dr. Coren sees an opportunity to celebrate, he expressed concerns Mendocino County could see another viral outbreak as testing has dropped nearly 50% and vaccine appointments are left unfilled. He said, “This is not a time to be complacent. Residents must continue wearing our masks, handwashing, social distancing, and socializing outdoors.”
Mendocino County is the only county within the Emerald Triangle to be within the yellow tier. The state’s most recent data has Humboldt County experiencing a 3.1% 7-day positivity rate, Trinity County is experiencing a 1.3% positivity rate, while Mendocino County’s positivity rate stands at 1.2%. The positivity rate describes the percentage of all COVID-19 tests that are performed and the percent that are positive.
Trinity County’s could be redesignated into the Yellow Tier next week if COVID-19 numbers remain low for two consecutive weeks.
Recently published COVID-19 data from Mendocino County Public Health mirrors the State of California’s data but reflects the reality the county is not devoid of the virus. As of April 27, 2021, there are 26 known active COVID-19 cases in the county and one resident is hospitalized in the intensive care unit.
Mendocino County is one of four counties in California with low enough COVID-19 spread to qualify. The other counties are Lassen, Sierra, and Alpine County.
Four other counties could be joining Mendocino in the yellow tier next week if their numbers hold: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Marin, and Trinity.
Each county’s race to less restrictive tiers will prove moot in the coming month and a half after California State Governor Gavin Newsom announced that on June 15, 2021, California will move beyond the Blueprint for a Safe Economy given there are enough vaccines for 16 years and older to be vaccinated and hospitalization rates remain stable and low.
The State of California is utilizing three metrics to assign counties based on the tiered system: adjusted coronavirus rate, the positivity rate of COVID-19 testing, and the health -equity metric. Counties’ assignments change when their qualifying data sustains for two consecutive weeks.
With official redesignation imminent, here are some of the changes to COVID-19 guidance Mendocino County resident can expect within the “Yellow Tier”:
- Live Events and Performance Venues
- Venues of up to 1,500 people can have a max of 25% capacity or 300 people. Capacity can be 50% of all attendees show proof of a negative COVID-19 test or vaccination.
- Gyms and Fitness Centers
- The Yellow Tier allows 50% capacity and the reopening of saunas and steam rooms.
- Movie Theaters
- 50% capacity with no limit for a total number of moviegoers.
- Places of Worship
- There is no change with redesignation into the “Yellow Tier” with the state recommending capacity be capped at 50% or less.