How Northern California counties would fare now in the old tier system

Most of the local counties would be in the orange tier if the state reverted back to the old tier system.

Posted: Jul 22, 2021 9:33 AM
Updated: Jul 22, 2021 10:14 AM

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - California has been reopened for five weeks now, but as the Delta Variant continues to spread Action News Now did some digging to see how we would fare in the old tier system.

On June 15, 2021, California did away with the color-coded tier system.

But if it was still around most of our local counties would be in the orange tier, including Butte County.

"It's not surprising I guess," said Donna Anthony, a Butte County resident.

"It would make sense for butte county," said Jay Thomas who lives in Butte County.

If the tier system was still in place, based on current numbers certain businesses like theaters in Butte County could only operate at half capacity.

And the numbers prove it, back when the tier system was a thing, in a seven-day average counties had to be under 10 cases per 100,000 people in order to avoid the purple, which most of our counties are.

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But some people are worried about those numbers trickling back up.

"In the Bay Area there's a high vaccination rate, and people are still wearing their masks," Anthony explained, "whereas here in Butte County, there's about a 37% rate and no ones wearing their masks."

"Seems like maybe we should go back to that (tier system) just to be aware of the progress we're making," Thomas said.

But the Delta variant is threatening that progression, Butte County already seeing cases of it popping up.

"Not all people who are tested for COVID are tested for a variant," explained Lisa Almaguer from Butte County Public Health. "With that said there's likely much more Delta spreading than we are aware of."

And in order to fight that health leaders are encouraging all of us to get that shot in the arm.

"Most all new cases are within those who are unvaccinated. Getting vaccinated is the best protection against covid, including the Delta Variant," Almaguer said.

The state used to classify counties under the purple tier when a seven-day average daily case rate reached seven cases per 100-thousand people.

But once vaccines became available in March that metric changed to 10 cases per 100,000 people to qualify for the purple tier.

Note that some counties have stopped reporting daily COVID-19 cases, and have instead reported them on a weekly basis.

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