Tulare County hits target to enter into less restrictive red tier

Tulare County’s key metrics qualify to move out of the most restrictive purple tier, one metric qualifies for the orange tier

EARLIMART – For the first time in over a year Tulare County has reason to celebrate. Since the Blueprint for a Safer Economy color coded system emerged last summer, the county has been relegated to the most restrictive purple tier. Their best opportunity to break into—and remain in—the red tier came on Monday.

As of March 15, the county’s seven-day average positive test rate per 100,000 people was 4.4% –worthy of being in the even less restrictive orange tier. The county’s adjusted seven-day average for new cases per 100,000 people was 9.5—less than the 10 needed to break out of the purple tier. And the county’s health equity positivity metric is 5.9%—less than the 8.1% needed to break out of the purple tier.

The county’s metrics need to remain below the purple tier’s threshold for two consecutive weeks before it is safe for them to remain in at least the red tier.

Tulare County’s key metrics qualify to move out of the most restrictive purple tier.

Last week Governor Gavin Newsom made a stop in Earlimart to talk about the need to effectively prioritize communities in the health equity positivity metric for vaccinations. Areas like these are predominately Hispanic, and populated by farmworkers.

“We have to do more because we recognize that this state is not where we need to be in terms of reaching the issues and goals that we laid out around equity,” Newsom said in Earlimart. “At the end of the day we are administering as many or more doses than we receive on a weekly basis from the federal government. The only constraint now is supply.”

According to the California Department of Public Health 43.5% of vaccinations have gone to Hispanics in Tulare County. They make up 65% of the county’s population. People considered white have received the second most vaccinations with 31.7%. Multiracial, “other” and “unknown” have received between 5.7% and 7.9% of vaccinations in the county.

Newsom also said during his press conference in Earlimart, that he expects more vaccine shipments to the area as more manufacturers ramp up production.

“We are going to see supply increase significantly over the coming weeks. The light truly is bright at the end of this tunnel,” Newsom said.

Tulare County Board of Supervisors chairwoman, Amy Shuklian, met with Newsom last Monday and told the board the following day that she is optimistic as well.

“I think it went well. As I stated in my State of the County, we have seen a significant increase in vaccine dosages coming to Tulare County. And, again, I trust that that will remain, especially with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine now coming onto the market,” Shuklian said.

Johnson and Johnson was given emergency use authorization late last month and is a single shot dosage.

The county has also made leaps and bound in vaccinating vulnerable populations. This week they announced they broadened the eligibility to include people of all ages with high-risk health conditions. By age the county has spent 39.4% of their vaccinations on people aged 65 and up; 37.5% on people aged 18 to 49; and 23% on people aged 50 to 64.

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