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Napa County nears an improved "orange" COVID-19 rating
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Napa County nears an improved "orange" COVID-19 rating

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Dining out

Diners eating on the outdoor patio at the Napa General Store in September. Napa County could soon allow more people to dine indoors at restaurants, if it can move up on the state's COVID-19-reduction rating scale. 

Tuesday is the day Napa County will learn if it has made the leap from “red” to “orange” on the state’s COVID-19 rating system and can further lift business restrictions.

An orange rating could make a big difference when cold weather hits in the coming months. Restaurants, fitness centers and places of worship could allow more people inside. Wineries could allow the public inside, instead of outdoors only.

Napa County already has orange-tier credentials with its latest COVID-19 numbers. But it must have them for two consecutive weeks to actually make the leap.

Next Tuesday, the state will announce the updated COVID-19 ratings. Dr. Karen Relucio, county public health officer, on Thursday sounded an upbeat note.

“I am keenly aware of the sacrifices so many have made to help get us to this next tier and I am optimistic that we can continue on our path forward if we remain vigilant through the upcoming holiday season,” she said in a press release.

California has four tiers that vary in business and activity restrictions. Purple is the most restrictive, moving to red, then orange, then to the least-restrictive yellow.

Napa County has been in red since the state began the system on Aug. 31. That means restaurants, movie theaters and places of worship can operate indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.

Orange status would boost this to 50% or 200 people, whichever is fewer.

Under red, fitness centers can operate indoors at 10% capacity. Orange status would boost this to 25% and allow indoor pools.

Wineries can serve the public outdoors only under the red rating. An orange rating would allow them to have indoor service at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.

The state has three criteria that counties must meet to be rated orange. One is a positive COVID-19 test rate of 2% to 4.9% averaged over seven days. Napa County has met that standard for weeks and is at 1.6%

Another criterion is a “health equity” adjustment on this positivity rate of between 2.2% and 5.2%. Napa County is at 2.1%.

Finally, there is the criterion that has given the county trouble – having only between one to 3.9 new cases daily per 100,000 people averaged over seven days. Napa County’s latest rating, adjusted for testing numbers, is a three.

“I want to thank our residents and visitors for their diligence in helping to fight this pandemic,” Relucio said.

Among California’s 58 counties, 10 are rated purple, 27 red, 13 orange and eight yellow. In the nine-county Bay Area, the only orange counties are San Francisco, Alameda and Santa Clara counties.

Come Tuesday, Napa County officials are hoping their county joins the orange club.

You can reach Barry Eberling at 256-2253 or beberling@napanews.com.

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Napa County Reporter

Barry Eberling covers Napa County government, transportation, the environment and general assignments. He has worked for the Napa Valley Register since fall 2014 and previously worked 27 years for the Daily Republic of Fairfield.

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