SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Orange County officially entered the least-restrictive yellow tier of the state’s COVID-19 reopening plan Wednesday while positive coronavirus trends continued.
The county reported just 51 new cases Wednesday and three additional fatalities. The numbers brought the total caseload to 254,882 and the death toll to 5,034.
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“I think it is definitely a welcome reprieve from COVID, and many of our businesses will be thrilled to have more capacity,” Supervisor Katrina Foley told City News Service Tuesday. “And, in general, our community worked so hard to get to this point, wearing the masks, social distancing, getting vaccinated. And it’s working.
“The vaccines have dramatically reduced the spread of COVID in our community, and we are so close to herd immunity. We just need to keep encouraging people to get vaccinated,” she added.
Under the yellow tier, bars are able to reopen indoors at 25% and fitness centers, cardrooms, wineries and breweries will be allowed to increase indoor capacity to 50%.
Outdoor sporting venues can increase capacity to 67% and amusement parks can increase capacity from 25% to 35%.
Orange County CEO Frank Kim said the move to the yellow tier “is a continuation of the trends that we’ve seen over the past two weeks.”
After the county moved up to the orange tier in mid-March, officials saw the average number of daily new infections had “plateaued” at about 3 per 100,000 residents, Kim said.
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“We moved past the plateau,” Kim said. “It’s a testament to how effective vaccines are.”
Kim said officials kept a close eye on the numbers after moving into the orange tier and wondered, “Will there be a bump in case rates? And we haven’t seen that.”
To qualify for the yellow tier, a county must have less than 2.0 cases per 100,000 residents, and it must maintain that for two weeks.
Orange County’s adjusted average daily coronavirus case rate fell to 1.5 people per 100,000 residents, according to weekly numbers released Tuesday by the state.
The county also must also maintain an average test positivity rate for the past seven days of under 2.0% to get into the yellow tier. Orange County’s test positivity rate currently stands at 0.9%.
Orange Count has administered approximately 1,154,311 doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of May 17.
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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)