(The Center Square) – Five more counties have been moved to the second tier of California’s four-stage plan to reopen the state’s economy, meaning students in those counties are also a step closer to resuming classroom learning.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said conditions in Orange, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Placer and Amador counties have improved enough to move them to Tier 2. To move up to the second tier, counties must have fewer than seven new cases per day per 100,000 in population and daily positive test rates under 8 percent for 14 consecutive days.
Since the coronavirus pandemic began, California has reported 744,461 positive cases, including 4,100 Tuesday, and 13,847 deaths, including 84 Tuesday.
There are now 14 counties in Tier 2, while 33 of the state’s 58 counties still remain in the most restrictive phase. That means restaurants, worship services, gyms, movie theaters and museums remain limited to outdoors only. There are 11 counties in the two least restrictive tiers.
California’s positivity test rate now stands at 3.8 percent, almost half of where it was a month ago.
Hospitalizations over the past 14 days are down 24 percent and the number of patients in intensive care is down 21 percent.
But Newsom said the falling numbers also depend on what people did over Labor Day weekend.
“Three-day holiday weekends have not been advantageous in terms of the mitigation of the spread of this virus,” he said. “You look back at seminal periods when we experienced large surges, and they tended to occur three weeks after holiday weekends.”
For counties now in Tier 2, many businesses can partially reopen, albeit with occupancy limits, including indoor dining, indoor worship services, movie theaters, hair and nail salons and barber shops.
San Diego County was narrowly able to retain its Tier 2 status, even as the number of infected students at San Diego State University reached 400, including 114 since the weekend. None, however, have required hospitalization.
The school announced a four-week pause for in-person classes, though it is making an exception for a limited number of courses necessary for specific accreditation or licensure requirements, particularly in the health sciences. University officials said those classes were mainly upper level courses with enrollments of 10 students or fewer.
In Los Angeles County, officials have nixed Halloween activities, including door-to-door trick or treating and haunted houses, citing the difficulty of social distancing for such events. “Trunk or treat” candy dispersal, popular among churches and schools, is also banned.
This article was originally published on More California counties move toward reopening economies