California Governor Announces Blueprint for a Safer Economy to Have Four Risk Tiers to Evaluate COVID-19

2 Sep

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced, as part of what he called, “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” on Friday, Aug. 28, through a City of Long Beach press release, four color-coded risk tiers, using the metrics of daily new cases per 100,000 residents and the positivity rate, defined as the number of positive test results compared to all tests administered.

Long Beach and Los Angeles are in the highest risk category.

Mayor Robert Garcia said from the start data will guide our re-opening. He added, “The statewide framework released by the Governor today makes it clear we are making progress.”

In a separate press release of the same day, the Governor said, “This Blueprint is statewide, stringent and slow. We have made notable progress over recent weeks, but the disease is still too widespread across the state. COVID-19 will be with us for a long time and we all need to adapt. We need to live differently. And we need to minimize exposure for our health, for our families and for our communities.”

The highest risk category is called “widespread” with a color of purple and is defined as more than seven daily new cases per 100,000 residents and a positivity rate of more than eight percent. The second highest risk category is called “substantial” with a color of red and is defined as four to seven daily new cases per 100,000 residents and a positivity rate from five to eight percent. The second lowest risk category is called “moderate” with a color of orange and is defined as one to 3.9 daily new cases per 100,000 residents and a positivity rate from two to 4.9 percent. The lowest risk category is called “minimal” with a color of yellow and is defined as less than one daily new case per 100,000 residents and a positivity rate of less than two percent.

The State is revising the calculations for case and positivity rates, which may lead to differences in past data and shouldn’t be compared with previous numbers. The revised indicators will be on the City’s COVID-19 dashboard starting on Monday, August 31. Positivity rates and case rates will be assessed and updated every Tuesday. To move down to a lower risk tier, a county needs to sustain the optimal numbers for three weeks. If a county shows data placing it in two different colors, the stricter rules will apply.

The new tiers also dictate the reopening phase. While the State outlines what is allowed under each tier starting August 31, details regarding what can be open, and protocols for operation, are at the direction of the City Health Officer. Openings of new sectors or changes to current business operations should only occur following the issuance of revised Health Orders from the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services.

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