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County leaders, health officials hope public will do its part to stay in the red tier

Posted at 5:19 PM, Sep 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-23 20:21:30-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)- San Diego County barely avoided falling back into the purple tier of the state’s reopening system, staying in the red for now.

The color-coded tier system has been difficult for many business owners to deal with as they wonder if they will face more restrictions in the coming weeks.

“We are working with the state to share our concerns and thoughts about the metrics they are using to put our county in the different tiers,” said Greg Cox, San Diego County Supervisor. "The reality is we remain at risk of being moved to the more restrictive tier in the future if we don’t do those things that we know we need to do.”

Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer, said she and other health officers across the state have been pushing for the state to improve its metrics system to go beyond case rate and positivity rate.

She would like to see three things happen.

“If counties are maintaining hospitalizations and hospital capacities to somehow get credit for that, and also get credit for contact tracing,” she said.

Wooten said the county should also get credit for providing access to COVID-19 testing in vulnerable communities hit the hardest.

“San Diego has done an excellent job to date of getting access to testing in those communities that are hit the hardest,” she said.

On Tuesday, the County Board of Supervisors passed a motion in a 4 to 1 vote to send a letter to the state backing Wooten’s effort in revising the reopening criteria.

Wooten is urging members of the public to continue wearing a facial covering, washing hands, avoiding large gatherings, and staying home when sick, especially as flu season is on the way.

“We do not have a vaccine for COVID-19, but we have a vaccine for the flu,” she said. “Getting the flu vaccine is the most important step in preventing the flu.”