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California could use vaccination rates to help counties move through tiers, Newsom says

In a news conference Wednesday, Governor Newsom said a possible inclusion of vaccination rates could help counties move through the tier system.

CALIFORNIA, USA — Governor Gavin Newsom said the state was wanting to include vaccination rates to help counties move through the coronavirus tier system.

The tiers are part of the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which ranges from the most restrictive purple tier to the least restrictive yellow tier. Each tier impacts businesses and sets limits on what kind of operations can take place, with or without modifications.

At a Wednesday news conference in Long Beach, Gov. Newsom said there have been conversations with county officials about the tier system and vaccination rates.

"There are conversations that we've been having with county local health officers and other local elected officials around the issue of the tiers in relationship to vaccination rates," Newsom said. "And we want to incorporate vaccination rates into the tiering, and that will allow people to move more quickly through the tiers."

However, the tiers themselves would not be reset or eliminated, Newsom said.

In a statement to ABC10, about the possible inclusion of vaccination rates with the tier system, the California Department of Public Health didn't provide a clear answer.

"We are constantly evaluating our response to this dynamic pandemic and if any changes to our approach are made, we will make those announcements public as soon as they’re ready," CDPH said, in part.

RELATED: Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in California

CDPH says that when there is more to share on the topic, that they will do so.

The comments come as counties like Stanislaus and San Joaquin try to make the leap from the purple tier to the red tier. Both counties say that testing volume and case rates would be the only thing standing in their way of making a timely transition by mid-March.

Both counties are calling on all their residents to get tested, even those residents who have been vaccinated, so they can make their way through the tier system. Despite the downward trend in the case rates and test positivity, the counties need more tests done if they want to make the leap.

In a statement to ABC10, CDPH said that testing "is a critical tool in fighting the pandemic and aids contact tracing and isolation to keep transmission levels low."

Newsom said including vaccination rates into the tier was a possibility and could allow people to move through the tiers in a quicker fashion. 

RELATED: ‘We may be getting closer to the end of this’ | San Joaquin, Stanislaus could see red tier by Mid-March

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