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Tuolumne County Could Move To Purple COVID-19 Tier

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Sonora, CA — Some changes are being made at the state level which could potentially move Tuolumne County to the most restrictive “purple” COVID-19 tier.

The information below was released this afternoon by Tuolumne County Public Health:

Public Health was updated by the California Department of Public Health on the evening of November 13, 2020 regarding the rapidly increasing number of cases and hospitalizations within the state.  

To address this, the state, along with the States of Washington and Oregon have released a travel advisory to discourage travel over the upcoming holidays. This is an advisory and not a ban. 

In addition, Dr. Pan (the acting State Health Officer and State Epidemiologist) indicated that the state may move counties more quickly to a more restrictive tier based on one week of data and implementing measures within one day rather than three. They may also determine the need to move back more than one tier at a time. The state anticipates that they will announce tier movements on Monday, November 16, 2020 rather than the usual Tuesday announcement.   

Tuolumne County’s weekly case rate is above 7 per 100,000 which is used as an indicator to move into the Purple tier. As a small county, absolute case numbers based on episode date are used to determine moving back tiers. 21 cases weekly in two consecutive weeks (with a one-week data lag) would move us back into the Red tier. For the two weeks from October 24 to November 7, 2020, we exceeded this number. We had over 42 cases in the week of November 1-7. Given the possibility of moving up timelines and shortening to a week of data as mentioned above,  this creates the possibility of moving directly into the Purple tier as early as Tuesday, November 17, 2020.  

While there are a number of scenarios the state may implement in the next month, we expect some impacts on businesses in any given sector with regards to reduction in services. Public Health will continue to advocate for as much time and notification of any tier movements, but want to alert businessowners about the possibility of moving into more restrictive tiers more quickly so that businesses can manage staffing and stock (especially perishables) ahead of announcements from the state early next week. Business owners can view Tier updates and sector information at: Businesses are also welcome to reach out to Tuolumne County Business and Innovation for information on local business updates and upcoming webinars at: (209) 288-4030. There is a business webinar on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 6 p.m. To register for this webinar please visit: 

As always, we encourage the public to remain vigilant about COVID-19 safety. Each community and each individual can do their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by focusing on the basics: wearing a mask, watching their distance, washing their hands, and staying home when sick.