By Miriam Raftery
Photo: Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County Public Health Officer
September 23, 2020 (San Diego) – The state announced yesterday that San Diego County will remain in tier two, the red tier, after narrowly keeping COVID-19 cases just below the threshold that would have shifted our region into the more restrictive tier one, or purple tier. That means that recently reopened businesses won’t have to shut down again or reduce current capacity for at least two weeks and schools retain the option to provide in-classroom learning.
Even though the state rejected the county’s argument to exclude San Diego State University’s outbreak cases from the county’s total, the region remained under 7 cases per 100,000 – but just barely, at 6.9 per 100,000 for the assessment period ending Sept. 12.
The state uses two metrics, case rates and testing positivity rates, to determine which tier to assign. On positivity rates, the county is doing much better at 3.8%, well below the 4.9% that would qualify for the even less restrictive orange tier. But both metrics would have to be met.
To drop down into the orange tier, which would allow many businesses to increase capacity, the county would have to keep its positivity rate down and show a reduction in its case rase below the required threshholds for at least two weeks. Due to a lag time in assessments, the soonest that could occur would be three weeks from now.