Humboldt County is one of six California counties to remain in the state’s lowest level of concern in today’s updated COVID-19 tier placement from the California Department of Heath and Human Services.
The other counties still ranked in the yellow — or “minimal” — tier include San Francisco, Sierra, Calaveras, Alpine and Mariposa.
Two of Humboldt’s immediate neighbors — Trinity and Siskiyou counties — moved from the yellow tier into the more restrictive orange tier, which indicates “moderate” virus spread. Del Norte was already in that tier, and remains there; Mendocino is in the red, “substantial” tier.
The tier system, introduced in California’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” COVID-19 Framework, determines the amount and type of restrictions placed on local businesses and other social activities within a county. (See overview in PDF form at this link.) A county’s placement in a tier is determined by new cases per capita, the percentage of tests that come back positive and an “equity” metric, which measures whether or not particular communities are disproportionately affected by the spread of the disease.
Though Humboldt remains in the lowest tier, case and positivity rates have been rising rapidly over the past week. If we move into the orange, additional restrictions will be placed on several local industry sectors. Bars will be forced to moved to outdoor operations only, for example. Gyms and fitness centers will have to reduce capacity.