New tiered system emphasizes slower reopening approach

New tiered system emphasizes slower reopening approach

Orange County could move into the next COVID-19 tier as soon as Tuesday, Sept. 29, amid improving coronavirus metrics.

The county's case rate and positive test percentage hit the “orange” or “moderate” requirements for the first time earlier this week.

The county, which has been in the “red” or “substantial” tier since Sept. 8, needs to maintain these metrics for two consecutive weeks in order to move into the orange tier, which would mean fewer business restrictions in the county.

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Tuesday's lowered figures signaled the first week that the county met those metrics, meaning it could move into tier three on Tuesday.

Orange County has an average of 3.6 new COVID-19 positive cases per 100,000 residents, and a positive testing percent of 3.1%, both well within the orange tier, which requires 1 to 3.9 average cases and a testing positivity percent between 2% and 4.9%.

In the orange tier, businesses will be able to expand indoor operations, with retail stores operating at full capacity.

Other businesses, including restaurants, churches, movie theaters, museums and zoos could operate at 50% capacity, up from 25%.

The final, least restrictive tier is the “yellow” tier, implying county transmission is minimal, with fewer than 1 new daily case per 100,000 residents and a fewer than 2% positive test rate.

Go here for more on how the OC business community is responding to COVID-19.