Kern among 28 counties being pushed back by state into purple tier amid rise in COVID-19 cases


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGET) — Gov. Newsom announced during his noon briefing that 28 counties are being pushed back into the most restrictive reopening tier effective tomorrow, including Kern County.

According to the state website, Kern County now has a case rate of 17.9 per 100,000 people and a 7 percent positivity rate. The county has a 6.8 percent health equity positivity rate as of Nov. 10. A case rate of 7.0 or lower is required for Kern to move back into the red tier.

The change is part of an “emergency brake” requiring counties to fall back into the state’s most restrictive tier, according to the state. Other counties that will be pushed back into the purple tier include Fresno, Kings, San Luis Obispo, Merced and Santa Barbara counties.

“We are sounding the alarm,” Newsom said. “California is experiencing the fastest increase in cases we have seen yet –faster than what we experienced at the outset of the pandemic or even this summer. The spread of COVID-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes. That is why we are pulling an emergency brake in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Now is the time to do all we can – government at all levels and Californians across the state – to flatten the curve again as we have done before.”

Counties that move back into the most restrictive tier must make industry changes immediately, Newsom said. About 40 counties will now be in the purple tier, the equivalent of 94 percent of the state’s population, according to the state website.

Today’s action will remain in effect until the state public health officer determines it is appropriate to make modifications based on public health conditions and data, according to the state.

Newsom said counties will be reassessed by the state on a daily basis instead of on the weekly basis that has been typical these past few months.

During the briefing, Newsom also said he is considering implementing a statewide curfew but a final decision has not been made at this time.

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