County remains in most restrictive tier, due to high case rates
While the week started off with some good news — the lifting of the state-wide stay-at-home order as ICU occupancy projections have lifted back into favorable territory, Sonoma County still languishes deep within the state’s purple COVID-19 tier.
The California Department of Public Health today lifted the Regional Stay-Home Order for the 11-county Bay Area region, including Sonoma County, effective immediately. However, many counties, including Sonoma County, will remain in the purple tier under the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, meaning many restrictions will remain in place.
“Residents and businesses in Cloverdale have weathered difficult challenges over the past year, and I know are eager to reopen our economy,” said Cloverdale Mayor Jason Turner in a statement. “While we are hopeful that the lifting of the stay-home order and reopening of our community will provide positive news for our business community, the county will continue to operate under the Tier 1 or Purple Tier indicating that Sonoma County is still witnessing impacts from COVID. We are encouraging residents to continue to take measures to protect yourself and family while plans are implemented to expand distribution of vaccinations in Sonoma County.”
“This is great news for Sonoma County residents and business owners,” said Lynda Hopkins, chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors said in a statement. “This means that we can begin to reopen parts of our economy a little more in hopes that the worst of this latest surge is over. But we still have a long way to go and we still need to be diligent in order to limit the spread of COVID-19.”
The lifting of the order means Sonoma County’s restaurants will be able to resume outdoor dining, and some businesses, such as hair salons and barbershops, will be able to resume limited indoor service and residents will have more freedom to engage in activities outside the home.
As of Jan. 25, the state reported the Bay Area ICU capacity at 8.2%. As of Jan. 24, the four-week ICU projection for the Bay Area is 25%, with the San Joaquin Valley projected at 22.3% and Southern California at 33.3%. The Greater Sacramento Area exited the Stay-Home order on Jan. 12 and has a projected ICU capacity of 27.3%. The order was never activated for a fifth region, one located deeper in Northern California, which currently has a projected ICU capacity of 18.9%. The overall four-week projection for state ICU capacity is 30.3%.
Although the order has been lifted, Dr. Sundari Mase, Sonoma County’s health officer, noted that case rates and positivity rates remain high in Sonoma County, which is why the county remains in the most restrictive purple tier.
“Sonoma County residents heard the urgent message to stay home as much as possible and accepted that challenge to slow the surge and save lives,” Mase said in a statement. “Together, we changed our activities knowing our short-term sacrifices would lead to longer-term gains. But COVID-19 is still here and still deadly, so we must remain vigilant and take all necessary mitigation measures until the vaccine is distributed widely.”
Under the purple tier, outdoor gatherings are permitted with up to three households and personal care businesses can open with modifications. The following are permitted to operate only outdoors with modifications:
- Movie theaters
- Family entertainment centers
- Museums, zoos, and aquariums
- Places of worship