Bakersfield · COVID-19

Kern, Stanislaus counties move into red tier. Who’s next?

Kern and Stanislaus Counties officially entered the red tier of California’s COVID-19 reopening blueprint, the state announced Tuesday. 

They join Tulare County, which entered into the less-restrictive tier last week, as well as the majority of the state. 

On the other hand, the rest of the Central Valley – Fresno, Kings, Madera, Merced and San Joaquin Counties – remain stuck in the most-restrictive purple tier. 

After a rapid descent in COVID-19 cases from January through the end of February, Fresno County’s case rate per 100,000 people had hit somewhat of a standstill, barely inching downard each week. 

Last week, Fresno County sat at around 12 new cases per 100,000 every day, but on Tuesday the county posted a 9.6 adjusted case rate, good enough for the red tier. 

Fresno County also posted a 4.5 percent positivity rate, which falls into the red tier metrics as well. 

Despite the good metrics – which Fresno County Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra called “excellent” – the county will remain in the purple tier for at least another week, since the state requires two consecutive weeks of consistent numbers to advance in the tier system. 

“This is exciting,” Vohra said. “This is a transition that we really haven’t been on the cusp of having for many months, so I’m sure you share the excitement that we do about making this transition.” 

Based on the numbers and Fresno County’s current trajectory, will the county make the move into the red tier next week? 

Vohra did not want to be too confident and guarantee it, but he thinks that the county is headed in that direction. 

“I’m hopeful. I would be very naïve to be too confident because I know how this virus has humbled our best conjectures in the past,” Vohra said. “But our trends are certainly moving in the right direction. And I think if we just keep doing exactly what we’ve been doing and maintaining the masking, the social distancing, getting our vaccines when it’s our turn – I’m really very optimistic that we will once again hit the red metrics. And then the state will go ahead and let us go into the red tier and allow us to work with all of our different sectors to get them opened up to meet the red tier standards.” 

Fresno County received 39,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine this week – both the Moderna and Pfizer manufactured products. 

Overall, the county has administered over 334,000 vaccine doses, with 92,000 people having been fully vaccinated and an additional 135,000 people having received one dose. 

The health department revealed a new COVID-19 vaccine dashboard which tracks the dosage administration data and plots out the information on a map by ZIP code. 

Daniel Gligich
Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.