Monterey County received some disappointing news this morning, Nov. 10: The California Department of Public Health denied the county's request to move from the Purple Tier into the less restrictive Red Tier as part of the state's Blueprint for a Safer Economy, a plan to reopen businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last week county officials were pinning their hopes on the discovery of lab test results manually reported but not included in the state's electronic system. They made the case in an adjudication request that the inclusion of those results lowered the test positivity rate for the county and should allow more of the county's businesses to reopen.
Today, Nov. 10, CDPH officials told the county that their department needed to validate the lab results through electronic reporting. They also said they needed to confirm addresses of cases in census tracts that fall under the state's Health Equity Metric.
The metric was created by the state to make sure that the test positivity rates in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods—those in the lowest quartile of what are called Healthy Places Index census tracts—do not significantly lag behind the county's overall county test positivity rate. Counties are required to pour resources into the disadvantaged areas to significantly decrease the spread of Covid.
“While the decision is disappointing, CDPH’s ruling will not distract us from focusing on strategies to reduce Covid-19 transmission and improving Monterey County’s Blueprint metrics,” Monterey County Health Officer Edward Moreno said in a statement.
Entering the Red Tier would mean more business could reopen, including indoor dining up to 25-percent capacity and gyms up to 10-percent capacity. The Monterey Bay Aquarium would be allowed to open at up to 25-percent capacity as well.