Napa County remains in the "Red" tier as of Tuesday despite speculation over the last few days that both Napa and Alameda counties would be advancing to "Orange" status.
Only Alameda County got the good news from the state, which updates the Blueprint for a Safer Economy on Tuesdays and Fridays lately. Napa remains under "Red" tier restrictions following a COVID outbreak at the Veterans Home of California in Yountville, which at last count has infected 24 people.
There was also some talk of Sonoma County getting moved out of the"Red" too, but that has to wait until Easter Sunday at the earliest under the state's rules — a county can not advance in tiers less than three weeks after its last advancement, to make sure trends are holding.
This means some Alameda County restaurants may be trying indoor dining for the first time since the pandemic began, with capacities raised to 50% — and it means, like in San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Marin counties, outdoor drinking at bars is allowed without mandatory food being served.
"Our metrics have improved, but this pandemic is not yet in our rear-view mirror," said Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss in a release. "Variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 are circulating in our county, case rates are rising in other parts of the country and, while nearly a quarter of Alameda County residents aged 16 and older have been fully vaccinated, we aren’t at the levels required for broad community protection or immunity."
Four Bay Area counties — Napa, Sonoma, Solano, and Contra Costa — remain in the "Red" tier, though it remains possible that the entire Bay Area will be "Orange" by next week, as SFist noted yesterday. Still, all this reopening is happening with the backdrop of a potential surge in new COVID cases happening in several states — something that CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Monday gives her a sense of "impending doom." She noted that similar upticks in cases presaged huge fourth waves of the pandemic in Germany, Italy, France, and elsewhere in Europe.
Hopefully vaccinations can outpace the spread of the virus in the coming few months, but given that not every state's population is showing as much eagerness to get vaccinated — it largely comes down to politics, because Trump — this may be too much to hope for.
Alameda County currently has a seven-day testing positivity rate of 1.1%, and an adjusted rate of daily new cases per 100,000 residents of 2.6 — this puts it close to qualifying for "Yellow" tier status, much like San Francisco.
Statewide, California's seven-day testing positivity rate is now 1.8%, and the state is seeing an average of 4.8 new cases per day per 100,000 residents.