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Orange County to advance into yellow tier on Wednesday

Danny Lopez and Frances Pluma wear face coverings on the Huntington Beach pier in June 2020.
Danny Lopez of Chino Hills and his date Frances Pluma of Norwalk wear face coverings as they stroll on the pier in Huntington Beach on Friday, June 26, 2020.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Orange County will move Wednesday into the yellow tier, the least restrictive in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, California’s four-tiered system that has guided COVID-19 reopening, county officials announced Tuesday.

The county meets the criteria for the yellow tier in three key metrics, with an adjusted daily case rate of 1.5 cases per 100,000 residents. Its testing positivity rate and health equity quartile positivity rate were both at 0.9% as of Tuesday.

Those metrics are kept as seven-day averages with a seven-day lag. The adjusted daily case rate, which requires fewer than two daily new cases per 100,000 residents to reach the yellow tier, had been the last area for the county to satisfy. Orange County dipped below the threshold last week, when it reported 1.8 daily new cases per 100,000 residents.

The yellow tier designation will allow businesses to expand operations to levels not seen by many since restrictions were imposed to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

“Our local economy was challenged, and certainly our council, we did everything we could to support businesses and to communicate to residents,” Newport Beach Mayor Brad Avery said Tuesday. “Of course, from the very beginning, we were just so caught off guard, and the catch up was an amazing thing to look now, a year later, we’re on the way out of it.

“Last December [and] January, nobody was sure at all about being ready for summer, to enjoy life as we knew it, by Memorial Day or July 4. Here we are.”

In a news release on Tuesday, the county stated that about 1,154,311 doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered at county points of distribution through Monday. Vaccine appointments continue to be made available by visiting othena.com, or by calling the Orange County COVID-19 hotline at (714) 834-2000.

Hundreds of parents and children rallied outside the Costa Mesa office of the Department of Education Monday to protest mandates requiring children to remain masked at school.

“Our community resilience helped bring us to this phase of the pandemic,” Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley said via text. “The willingness to embrace social distancing and masking along with 2 million-plus residents already vaccinated is being rewarded, and I can’t wait to join others for [an] endless summer of fun.”

The county reported 48 new cases and no additional fatalities due to the virus in the latest data provided by the Orange County Health Care Agency on Tuesday.

To date, there have been 5,031 coronavirus deaths and a total of 254,831 cases of the virus reported in the county.

There are currently 78 hospitalizations countywide because of the virus. Among those patients, 14 are being treated in intensive care units.

The agency also reported 6,145 additional tests for the virus, bringing the total number of tests administered to 3,814,553. Approximately 248,148 people in the county have made a recovery after contracting the virus.

The agency reported 6,145 additional tests for the virus, bringing the total number of tests administered to 3,814,553. Approximately 248,148 people in the county have made a recovery after contracting the virus.

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