Last week, the county's coronavirus case rate per 100,000 didn't hit the red tier metrics as they projected, but its positivity rate and healthy equity quartile rate were good enough to push them into qualifying for red tier status if they could maintain those numbers another week. It was a make-or-break week, but on Tuesday, the efforts paid off.
Red tier means reopened schools and partial business reopenings for the county. It's a welcome sight they haven't seen for some time.
The transition comes after San Joaquin County was on the verge of red tier status only to have it swept away. After what happened to the north of them, Stanislaus County officials knew the move to the red tier was not guaranteed.
"We were very worried all week long because San Joaquin last week went back up… we were very concerned that the same thing was going to happen – that we would pop back up and the clock starts all over again,” said Stanislaus County Supervisor Vito Chiesa.
He credited the efforts of every resident in the county for transition, but he's made it clear that the red tier is not the end goal.
“We can’t allow complacency to take over… when we’re in the red tier, we have to act in some ways, especially when we get close interaction with people, we’ve got to act like we’re in the purple tier," Chiesa said. "I just don’t want people to think that this pandemic is over yet, and I keep talking about seeing the light at the end of the tunnel but we’re still in the tunnel."
Last week, Kamlesh Kaur, spokesperson for Stanislaus County Public Health, told ABC10 that in order for the county to move through the reopening tiers, people will have to follow all the public health recommendations. This includes wearing masks, avoiding gatherings, social distancing, and getting tested for COVID-19.
On Tuesday, Chiesa echoed a similar sentiment and said that he's encouraging people to get vaccinated when it's their turn.
"That’s the hope that’s in front of us on a go-forward basis,” he said.
He said people will need to work together to put an end to this pandemic and reopen the county.
“We’re not going to get through it one by one. If one person is doing it right and one person is doing it wrong, it’s going to take that much more time to get through this," Chiesa said. "Let’s get kids back in school. Let’s get businesses back open at a pace that we can handle.”