Tuesday, May 11, 2021

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Colusa County remains at orange tier

Colusa County officials were hopeful about moving into a less restrictive tier on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s color-coded blueprint for reopening this week, but the county will remain in the orange (moderate) tier probably for another week.

Colusa County Health and Human Services Director Elizabeth Kelly said Tuesday that slight increases or decreases in the number of people in isolation are largely within the same families and not through random community spread.

Colusa County previously moved from the red tier to the orange tier on March 30, and could be in the yellow (minimal) tier on April 20.

As COVID-19 declines throughout the state, Kelly said the only way Colusa County would take a step back on the blueprint was if the adjusted daily case rate and the testing positive rates increased to within the thresholds for a more restrictive tier.

“We haven’t really seen that within our county for a month or so,” said Kelly, who added that the overall testing rate of new COVID-19 cases was less than one case per day.

As of Tuesday, Colusa County has received 9,720 vaccine doses, which Public Health administered at scheduled clinics by appointment only or provided directly to health care partners.

Although Public Health recently received about 180 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the FDA temporarily paused the distribution of the single-dose vaccine to investigate reports of an extremely rare but possible blood clotting side effect.

Colusa County currently has 19 positive cases of COVID-19, up to three from Monday. None are hospitalized.

Gov. Newsom announced on April 6 that he is aiming for California to open fully on June 15, as long as vaccine supply is sufficient to inoculate Californians 16 years and older who want to be vaccinated – and hospitalization rates from the virus remain stable and low.

The governor’s tying of California’s reopening to vaccine availability for juveniles puts Colusa County at a disadvantage since only Pfizer has been approved for youth under the age of 18, officials said.

While vaccinations in California are open to everyone age 16 and up, as of today, Colusa County does not receive the vaccine (Pfizer) that is approved for use in juveniles.

The disparity shows there is a serious lack of communication between the state agencies setting the rules and those actually navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.

Kelly said the state contacted her office Monday to ask how Colusa County plans to address inoculating youth.

“I quickly reminded them that they have failed to provide us with any vaccine to vaccinate those 16 and older since December,” she said. “There is such a disconnect between the people asking the questions and the people issuing out the vaccine. The two are not communicating clearly.”

As of Tuesday, most Colusa County businesses were open with some modifications.

When California fully reopens, the Blueprint for a Safer Economy will end, the governor said, although guidance on mask-wearing will likely continue.

 

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