Riverside County on Tuesday moved back to the state’s most restrictive tier — purple, or widespread risk — because of an increased coronavirus positivity rate, California Department of Public Health officials said.
The county had moved into the less restrictive red tier — or widespread risk— last month after meeting the criteria for positivity and case rates.
As the case rate increased, however, the county was allowed to remain in the red tier for at least another week while they tried to improve their figures. And earlier this month, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted in favor of a revised reopening plan that was more in line with the state’s tighter guidelines.
While the county was on the brink of falling back, officials urged residents to get tested and continue to wear masks in an effort to lower their positivity rate.
Those efforts, however, proved to be in vain: The region was placed back in the purple tier on California’s reopening website.
In a tweet on Tuesday, the city of Riverside indicated that businesses had 72 hours to adjust.
“The tier change was mainly due to our County’s increased Positive Case Rate which can be adjusted — both positively and negatively — by testing volume,” the tweet read.
The region will need to remain in the most restrictive tier for at least three weeks and meet red tier metrics for two of those weeks in order to return to that tier, county officials explained in a news release.
The less restrictive tier allowed more businesses — like dine-in restaurants, theaters and places of worship — to reopen in the region. Those sectors will have to move back outside or close again.
Schools that have already welcomed students can remain open, but schools and districts that had not already reopened will need to get a waiver approved by the Riverside County public health officer and the California Department of Public Health, county officials explained.
During a news conference Tuesday, state officials said they will work with the other Southern California counties in the most restrictive tier — Los Angeles and San Bernardino — to try and bring their figures down. This includes increasing testing and isolation resources.
As of Tuesday, the county had a total of 64,668 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 1,273 deaths. Their positivity rate stood at 5.9%, while their case rate is at 9.1%