By Mike Hagerty
California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly held a news conference Tuesday to discuss the state’s new four-tiered COVID-19 plan for safely re-opening the economy in California’s 58 counties. A key part of the plan is requiring counties to spend three weeks in a tier before they can move to the next less restrictive one.
"One of the lessons we learned in our earlier reopening experience was that two weeks wasn’t enough,"Ghaly said. "That it took at least two weeks, one sort of complete incubation cycle plus a little more time to see the impact of any change that you made. And so we really wanted to stick to three weeks, and frankly that’s the minimum.”
Reporters asked about the choice of two criteria for the new plan — case rate and percentage of positive tests. Ghaly said that those are leading to mid-range indicators, meaning you get data back early enough to act on it. That is opposed to lagging indicators, or data that, by the time you get it, is virtually useless in addressing the problem.
Of California’s 58 counties, 39 are starting out in the “purple” or most restrictive tier, meaning that very few indoor businesses are allowed to operate. Only two counties — Alpine and Modoc — are in the “yellow” or least restrictive tier, which allows most indoor businesses and services to operate with some modifications.
The case rate of less than one daily new case per 100,000 residents and positive test rate of less than 2% to get to the “yellow” tier might be more difficult for the state’s most populous counties to attain, Ghaly said, but not impossible.
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