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San Diego County to Move to Red Tier March 17

-Editorial

Given that the state has met a mark of vaccinating 2 million people in the communities hardest hit by COVID-19, it has revised its tier system, and San Diego County is expected to move to the Red Tier for activities on March 17.

The change in tiers will allow indoor operations to resume, at limited capacity and with modifications, at restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, and other establishments.

San Diego and 11 other counties are moving to the less restrictive Red Tier, which now requires a case rate of four to 10 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents. San Diego County’s state-calculated, adjusted case rate is currently 8.8 cases per 100,000 residents.

“This is great news for our region. San Diegans have done a good job following the public health guidance and that has driven our case rate down in recent weeks,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Our vaccination efforts have also helped to slow the spread of COVID-19. As more people get vaccinated, the number of cases should continue to decrease.”

The County must remain in the Red Tier and post two consecutive weeks of data in the Orange Tier before moving to the less restrictive level which would ease more restrictions.

Currently, the testing positivity percentage is 3.3%, placing the County in Tier 3 or the Orange Tier. The County’s health equity metric, which looks at the testing positivity for areas with the lowest healthy conditions, is 4.5% and is also in the Orange Tier or Tier 3. These metrics are also expected to decrease when the state announces tier assignments on March 16.

While two of the three metrics qualify the County for the Orange Tier or Tier 3, the state assigns counties to the most restrictive tier.

When the state administers 4 million doses in the vaccine equity quartile, tier assignments will be revised once again.

San Diegans With Chronic Illnesses Eligible for Vaccine Monday

Starting March 15, people between 16 and 64 years of age who have a severe health condition will be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced.

The vaccine is being made available to people in this category because they are deemed to be a high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 due to their pre-existing medical condition.

“People with chronic health conditions should get vaccinated as soon as possible,” Wooten said. “All the vaccines currently available are 100% effective at preventing severe illness from COVID-19.”

San Diegans with a developmental or other severe high-risk disability will also be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

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