California moves Napa County to less restrictive category as coronavirus cases decline

Napa County learned Tuesday it will exit the purple tier — the state’s most restrictive status in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy — to the red tier, effective just after midnight Wednesday, according to California officials.

Napa County’s move to red status follows Marin County, which advanced last week, as the Business Journal previously reported. Sonoma County remains in the purple tier, as does its neighboring North Bay counties — Solano, Mendocino and Lake. In the Greater Bay Area, both San Francisco and Santa Clara counties also will move tomorrow to the red tier, according to today’s announcement.

Dr. Karen Relucio, Napa County’s public health officer, told the board of supervisors last week that the county was on track to move into the red tier on March 10, as reported by the Napa Valley Register.

“Given our focus on vaccination efforts, we made a miscalculation on the move date,” Janet Upton, Napa County spokeswoman, said today in an email statement.

Under the red tier, retail establishments and indoor malls can operate at 50% capacity, but food courts must remain closed. Restaurants and movie theaters can operate indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer, and gyms and fitness studios may reopen indoors at 10% capacity.

Napa County moves into the red tier with a test positivity rate of 2.3%, lower than the 5% to 7% range needed to advance. Its adjusted 7-day new case rate is 5.9, falling within the 4 to 7 requirement. And the county’s health-equity test positivity rate is 3.8%, lower than the 5.3% to 8% stipulation for residents in disadvantaged communities.

“A return to the less-restrictive red tier means most activities can reopen, some are still outdoors only, and all with modifications,” Relucio said in an emailed statement. “Indoor gatherings are still strongly discouraged (and) outdoor gatherings of no more than three households, including your own, are allowed under the red tier.”

Relucio also stressed that it’s important to continue with protective measures, even if vaccinated, until the county achieves community immunity.

Napa County is now back to navigating its way forward among the tiers, having first advanced from the red tier to the even less-restrictive orange tier on Oct. 21. The county began in the red tier when the Blueprint for a Safer Economy was implemented on Aug. 31.

Napa County entered the purple tier for the first time on Dec. 8, when Newsom rolled back the state’s 58 counties to the most restrictive status when he implemented the statewide regional stay-at-home order, based on the availability of ICU beds.

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