Where Wine Country is with coronavirus reopening: Napa County moves up to ‘orange’ tier, Marin close behind

Napa County finally got the news it had been waiting for. On Oct. 21, the state officially moved the county from the red tier to the orange tier, further easing the county’s restrictions due to a lower COVID-19 transmission rate.

The county’s restaurants can now expand indoor-dining capacity to 50%; gyms can operate at 25% capacity; and movie theaters and places of worship can have 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer. Nonessential businesses also can open.

As of Oct. 20, Napa County had a test positivity rate of 1.7% per 100,000 population, an adjusted case rate of 3.6 new positive cases per day per 100,000 population, and a health equity test positivity rate of 2.1% per 100,000 population.

Napa County was initially placed into the red tier when California on Aug. 31 rolled out its Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Each of the state’s 58 counties must remain in their current colored tier for at least three weeks before moving forward.

“I want to thank our residents and visitors for their diligence in helping fight this pandemic,” Napa County Public Health Officer said in an Oct. 21 press release. “I am keenly aware of the sacrifices so many have made to help get us to this next tier, and I am optimistic that we can continue on our path forward if we remain vigilant through the upcoming holiday season.”

Marin poised to move up to ‘orange’

Also this week, Marin Health and Human Services reported the county is on the cusp of moving to the orange tier, possibly next week if its COVID-19 transmission rates remain steady or continue to decrease.

As of Oct. 19, the county had an adjusted daily case rate of 3.6. Its test positivity rate was 1.8%, and its health equity metric was 2.7%.

“We’ve all made sacrifices to reduce COVID-19 transmission in Marin, and it’s encouraging to see progress,” Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County’s Public Health Officer, told the county’s board of supervisors. “At the same time, we’re seeing new surges across the nation. As hard as it is to reduce case rates, it’s just as hard to hang on and not slide backward. It’s not time to let up on those measures that protect ourselves and our community.”

Sonoma County lingers in ‘purple’

Meanwhile, Sonoma County hasn’t yet qualified to move out of the purple tier, the most restrictive, because of widespread COVID-19 transmission. The county’s daily infection rate of 11.9 new virus cases per 100,000 residents exceeds the maximum of seven new cases per 100,000 to move to the red tier. The county is in better shape with its test positivity rate of 5.1%; and its health equity metric is 7.5%, according to reporting by The Press Democrat.

The county’s Board of Supervisors on Oct. 20 unanimously approved using $4 million in local COVID-19 emergency funds to execute the enhanced pandemic response plan until the end of the year. Health officials are expected to go back to the supervisors for another nearly $12 million to pay for the continued battle against the virus through June 30, 2021, the outlet stated.

“This approach that we’re putting into place is going to impact us positively,” county Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase said. “It is, initially, probably going to find a few more cases. That’s what we want to do. … I’m very optimistic and hopeful that we will be seeing some good outcomes from this work very soon.”

The Press Democrat contributed to this report.

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