Orange County could be back in the “purple tier” for COVID-related restrictions as early as next Tuesday, Nov. 17, Seal Beach Police Chief Phil Gonshak told the council this week. That’s consistent with news reports that COVID counts have been increasing recently.
Gonshak said that if OC does move back into the purple (most restrictive) tier, that does not mean that the schools will close. According to the chief if they can demonstrate that they can safely operate, they can remain open.
Gonshak said that City Manager Jill Ingram had participated in the county CEO and the health care director’s weekly update and the news was not optimistic.
During his COVID Local Emergency Review to this week’s City Council meeting, Gonshak reported Orange County had seen an increase in the COVID infection and COVID positivity rates.
Gonshak told the council Monday night that the 76 patients were “a pretty noticeable increase in hospitalizations and ICU cases from the last meeting two weeks ago.”
Gonshak said that currently, Orange County has an infection rate that falls in the red tier and a test positivity rate that falls in the orange tier.
“Since the state defers to the highest matching criteria, we will remain in the red for now,” Gonshak said.
The color coded statewide tier system for pandemic restrictions includes both infection rates and positive COVID-19 tests. Red is the second most restrictive tier in California. Purple is the most restrictive.
Purple means “many non-essential indoor business activities are closed,” according to covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy.
Gonshak said on Sept. 8, OC moved from the purple tier (most restrictive) to red tier.
He explained that under the governor’s equity test, each city in the county is evaluated to ensure the county as a whole is meeting the requirements for moving into another tier.
As of Monday, Nov. 9, the Orange County Health Care Agency website reported 62,563 cumulative cases (of which 2,367 are nursing home patients) and 308 positive cases. The OC health agency reported 205 patients in the hospital and 76 patients currently in intensive care.