Merced becomes final county to move out of California’s most-restrictive purple tier


And then there were none.

For the first time since California unveiled its color-coded COVID-19 reopening system nearly eight months ago, not a single county is in the most-restrictive purple tier.

The milestone was reached Wednesday, when state health officials moved what had been the lone remaining occupant of the category — Merced County — into the less-stringent red tier after taking a closer look at the region’s data.

When the state released its latest round of tier assignments Tuesday, Merced was initially placed in the purple tier as its coronavirus case rate, which is adjusted based on the number of tests performed, was calculated as slightly too high to move forward.

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