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San Diego County re-enters purple tier, outdoor dining returns


Last updated 1/26/2021 at 10:52am

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Citing improving conditions in hospitals, state health officials lifted all regional stay-at-home orders Monday, but San Diego

and the other 10 counties in the Southern California region will still be subject to the tight regulations of the restrictive "purple'' tier of economic

reopening guidelines.

Based on the state's action, San Diego County officials moved the county back into the purple tier -- reopening, in an outdoor capacity:

restaurant dining, gyms, places of worship, museums, zoos and aquariums, camping and outdoor recreation, bars, breweries and distilleries if they serve food, low-contact youth sports such as cross-country, swimming and diving, golf and track and field, family entertainment centers and movie theaters.

Personal care services such as barber shops, hair and nail salons and tattoo shops can operate indoors, grocery stores can operate at 50% capacity,

retail at 25%, and live sports can continue as long as fans aren't in attendance. Amusement parks will remain closed.

"I think it is time for businesses to be able to have some hope,'' said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer.

The announcements came as San Diego County reported 1,437 new COVID-19 infections, no new deaths and the fewest coronavirus-related

hospitalizations in a month -- 1,485 -- though the number of patients in ICU units remains high at 424, just 14 below the record 438 reported Wednesday. There were 47 staffed ICU beds available in the county as of Monday.

It was the 56th consecutive day with more than 1,000 new cases, and brings the county's cumulative case total to 228,632, while the death toll

remained unchanged at 2,375.

The county has now administered 235,078 total doses of COVID-19 vaccines, with 1.3% of the county's population above the age of 16 now


Of 14,573 tests reported Monday, 10% returned positive, dropping the 14-day rolling average to 10.2% from Sunday's 10.3%.

Ten new community outbreaks were reported Monday, with 55 in the past week, tied to 234 cases.

The Petco Park UC San Diego Health Vaccination Super Station at Petco Park was closed Monday due to inclement weather and will remain closed

throughout the day Tuesday for repairs.

People who were scheduled to receive a vaccination at the site on Monday had their appointments rescheduled for Thursday and people who had

appointments Tuesday were rescheduled for Saturday. Patients should check the county's MyChart to confirm.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said the region has a long way to go before arriving in the red tier of the state's four-tiered reopening plan. The

county's adjusted case rate is 49.6 new cases per 100,000 population. To be dropped into the more permissive red tier, cases have to be fewer than seven per 100,000. Only four of California's counties are at the red tier or lower.

The regional stay-at-home order was imposed in Southern California late last year when intensive-care unit capacity dropped below 15%. The regional capacity subsequently dropped to an adjusted 0%.

State officials said Monday that with hospitalization numbers trending downward, four-week projections now indicate ICU capacity will rise above

the 15% threshold.

Although the state order has been lifted, individual counties are still able to impose stricter restrictions than the state.

Fletcher said the announcement represented a positive step forward.

"Obviously we need to see continued progress, we want to see our case numbers continue to decline,'' he said. "And again, our focus has to remain on administering vaccines and continuing the efforts to slow the spread to try to guide our way out of this.''

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said: "This is how our economy will fully reopen for good. I want to thank every San Diegan -- residents and small

business owners alike -- who made this possible by avoiding gatherings, wearing masks and staying home when possible.

"With vaccination efforts expanding, we're making real progress, but it's not time to let our guard down,'' he said. "San Diego will continue to

enforce state and county public-health guidelines. Let's continue to keep ourselves and each other safe.''

Former Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who has formed an exploratory committee to run for governor and has attacked Gov. Gavin Newsom in recent weeks,

described the move as "absurd.''

"A new day, a new erratic COVID rule,'' Faulconer said.

"Californians want to follow the science. Instead we are forced to follow a governor who decides on a whim the fate of millions of Californians while

refusing to release the data behind his contradictory and arbitrary decisions.''


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