SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento County has recently been in the most restrictive of California's reopening tiers, but it could soon make the jump to red tier if state officials make the call on Tuesday.
For the past week, Sacramento County has been idling with red tier metrics, and now the county is hoping that it'll stick the landing to finally transition to a less restrictive reopening tier.
Red tier would see eased restrictions on indoor dining, gyms, malls, aquariums, and movie theaters. For more on what's open and closed in the red tier, click HERE.
ABC10 spoke with Dr. Olivia Kasirye, Sacramento County Public Health Officer, as the county looks toward a potential reopening on the horizon.
Do you think Sacramento County is moving into the red tier too quickly?
Dr. Kasirye: “Well, it’s been a whole year that we’ve been in various stages of the shutdown and especially starting in November with the latest surge. Many of the businesses have not been able to operate or have had to operate outdoors. So, I think, everyone is very anxious, and I think that the state is being very deliberate as they are changing the criteria based on the vaccination rates and so I think there will be a lot of people that will appreciate us being able to move to the red tier."
Do you have any concerns about St. Patrick’s Day celebrations?
Dr. Kasirye: “I do have some concerns because I know that when people gather there is an increased risk especially if they are people that are not vaccinated. So, we still want to have people take precautions and to be vigilant to make sure that they minimize intermingling with people outside of their household. Also, make sure they wear face-covering and then they keep 6 feet apart from others. “
Do you think Sacramento businesses have done a good job of following guidelines?
Dr. Kasirye: “Yes, I know that the majority of businesses have been following the guidance that we put out, and it’s been hard on them but I know that they were doing this because they believed that they were helping to control the spread of the virus. So, I think this is going to be welcome news for them that we are, at this point, where the numbers continue to go down and we are at the point where we can actually start re-opening more of the business as indoors."
What rate are vaccines being distributed in Sacramento?
Dr. Kasirye: “We still get a weekly allocation of about 15,000 doses and that is divided up between all of our providers. We have about 90 providers in Sacramento County. So, we work very closely together in making decisions about who gets what type of vaccine and how much of it. And so, our main job is to make sure that we make it available to as many people as possible. Also, now as the state is telling us to make sure that we keep about 40% of our doses for those in the housing equity quartile, so we have about 11 zip codes in that quartile and so working very closely with our healthcare provider partners as well as community-based agencies to make sure that we provide access to that vaccine in those areas. “
When will the county get more of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine?”
Dr. Kasirye: “We got one allocation of Johnson and Johnson last week. We will not get one this week or the week after that. We’re hoping that starting in April we will get a steady supply of the Johnson and Johnson. Last week, we got about 5,000 doses.”
The AstraZenica vaccine is not approved yet in the United States but in some other countries where it is approved Health officials are suspending the vaccine over fears it has blood clotting issues. Do you think the suspension of the AstraZenica vaccine could make people question the vaccines that are approved in the United States?”
Dr. Kasirye: “Well, we do have the information about the three vaccines that we have available in the United States, and we know that they have been proven to be safe and effective. So, I think we are at a good place. We just need to get more of the doses, and we continue to put information out there to make sure that we answer the questions that people have about the safety and make sure that they understand the difference between the different types of a vaccine."