California Director of Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly announced the much-anticipated county coronavirus reopening update on Tuesday. He said less than 20 counties were now in the most restrictive tier.
But the bigger news from his briefing might be the revelation that the state is “deep in the planning process for a potential late fall/early winter rollout of the vaccine.”
“We want to be ready,” said Ghaly, “for when we’ve determined that it is safe, when it is available in sufficient quantity for California that we will put it out there.”
Ghaly revealed that, “California has been an early partner with the federal government in talking about how we plan for distribution of the vaccine. We were one of five regions or jurisdictions that were invited to have that conversation.”
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“We, like others,” said the secretary, “are looking closely to what the federal government is doing, the FDA, in terms of moving forward with the safety protections that this vaccine — as with every vaccine — must go through. We expect that that is going to be done in a complete and sophisticated and high-fidelity way.”
“We plan to have a team of experts…review the findings so we can put the California stamp of approval on it before we really roll it out across the state.”
This, as the New York Times reported that the F.D.A. had released stricter safety guidelines on Tuesday for coronavirus vaccines. The outlet said the new guidelines, “make it highly unlikely that a vaccine could be authorized before Election Day.”
Also on Tuesday, California reported that seven counties moved to less-restrictive reopening tiers and two moved back to greater restrictions.
Here is the breakdown of this week’s movement among the tiers:
-Ventura, Merced and Yuba counties moved from Purple to to Red
-Inyo moved from Red to Orange
-Humboldt (moving forward because of the equity measure), Plumas, Siskiyou and Trinity moved from Orange to Yellow
-Shasta moved back from Orange to Red
-Tehama moved from Red back to purple
Under the Red tier: movie theaters and cultural ceremonies can operate at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer; gyms can open indoors to 10% capacity; childcare, drive-in theaters, family entertainment centers and hotels can open with modifications. Concert venues and live theater and festivals are still prohibited to operate.
Under the Orange tier: movie theaters and restaurants can open to 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer; bars, nail salons, childcare facilities, church services, day camps, doctors, family entertainment centers, gyms can open with modifications. Concert venues and live theater and festivals are still prohibited to operate.
Below is Newsom’s tweet outlining the tiers of reopening.
NEW: California is launching a Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
Your county will be assigned a color based on:
– Case rate
– Positivity rate
Your color determines how businesses can operate in your county.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) August 28, 2020
Last week, San Francisco, Amador and Calaveras would be allowed to move into the Orange — or Moderate — tier and Sacramento, Fresno, Santa Barbara, Butte, Contra Costa, San Joaquin and Yolo would be allowed to progress into the Red — or Substantial — tier.
When asked what comes after yellow, Ghaly referenced Newsom’s comment on Monday that these tiers would not be replaced until the end of the year.
Tuesday marked the implementation of the state’s new Health Equity Metric. According to health officials, no counties were unable to move forward due to the new metric. In fact, the metric helped Humboldt move forward, they said.
Ghaly said the state saw 1,677 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday. The 7-day average of new cases stood at just over 3,000.
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