REDDING, Calif. - Shasta County's Public Health Director says the county will not move into the state's COVID-19 red tier next week, as hoped.
During a Wednesday morning virtual media briefing, Health Director Robin Schurig said that while the county's case rate went down in the past week, test positivity and a measurement called "the equity metric" increased. So it's staying in the purple tier.
To learn more bout the equity metric click here.
"Last week we talked about our case rate being in the purple but the test positivity and equity metric broke into the orange," said Schurig. "If we persisted for two weeks and the case rate continued to decline we could move into the red. There is a chance if we dip back down again and the case rate continues to decline we could move to the red in the relatively near future. We'll have to watch and see if we experience a surge after Superbowl Sunday."
She also said that another thing to keep in mind is there are more-infectious variants of the virus being discovered and that the strain from the U.K. will be the dominant strain here by March or April. So, that's likely to cause the case rate to increase again.
Schurig also said it's important to remember the reason for the tighter restrictions in places with higher case rates, asking people to stay home if possible, avoid gatherings, maintain distancing and wear masks. It's because they're trying to prevent severe illness and deaths.
"Every time there's a surge in cases it's followed a couple of weeks later by an increase in hospitalizations, and within a couple of weeks after that an increase in deaths," said Schurig. "Right now we are still seeing some deaths from the surge after Christmas and New Years'. We reported three new deaths yesterday. So it's important to keep that in mind."
After the news conference, two more deaths were reported for a total of 166 deaths.