By Debra Moore
Plumas County has been operating under the orange tier — which governs how businesses and other entities can operate — but soon all tiers will be just a memory.
Dr. Mark Satterfield, the county’s Public Health Officer, alluded to the change when he provided a coronavirus update to the Board of the Supervisors on Tuesday morning, April 6, and Gov. Gavin Newsom made it official soon thereafter during a news conference.
“We are announcing now that on June 15 we will be getting rid of the colored tiers,” Newsom said. “With more than 20 million vaccines administered across the state, it is time to turn the page on our tier system and begin looking to fully reopen California’s economy. We can now begin planning for our lives post-pandemic.”
California Director of Health Services Dr. Mark Ghaly said that the date was chosen because it is “exactly eight weeks after we make all Californians eligible for the vaccine (April 15). That date will hold “If vaccine supply is sufficient for Californians 16 years and older who wish to be inoculated” and “If hospitalization rates are stable and low.” (However no specific numbers were identified during the news conference.)
During his presentation to the board, Satterfield said the county had experienced new cases and a temporary upswing, “but that appears to be over.” However, he reminded the board and the public that although “we might be done with COVID, COVID is not done with us.”
Satterfield said that what predominantly contributes to local cases is travel outside of the county. “We see the travel history,” he said of the information that is revealed during case investigations. Satterfield mentioned Reno and Chico as areas of concern and encouraged residents to shop local.
He also discussed the latest variant that has appeared in the Bay Area, referred to as the Indian variant, which is more contagious than the original strain. “The sky is not falling; we just need to be cautious,” he said.
Satterfield reiterated that it’s important to continue to wear a mask, just as the governor did in his press conference. Newsom said that while about a third of states have lifted the mandates, it’s not happening in California. “It’s the most important thing we can do,” he said. “This disease continues to be deadly.
In addition to wearing masks, Satterfield also advised county residents to avoid indoor closed-off spaces and to get the vaccine.
This week’s clinic to be held April 7 quickly filled up with appointments — 200 individuals will receive the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine. Another clinic, featuring 200 doses of Moderna, is scheduled for April 13.
The governor said that the state continues to see a steady stream of vaccines, but said that when everyone is eligible April 15, there won’t be enough immediately for everyone who wants one, and mentioned it could take a couple of weeks for individuals to receive their first dose. Then there is the waiting period and the need for a second dose in the case of Moderna and Pfizer, and two more weeks — thus the June 15 date was selected as a time when most people would have been vaccinated.
What will be open after June 15
A press release from Gov. Newsom’s office stated: All sectors listed in the current Blueprint for a Safer Economy grid may return to usual operations in compliance with Cal/OSHA requirements and with common-sense public health policies in place, such as required masking, testing and with vaccinations encouraged. Large-scale indoor events, such as conventions, will be allowed to occur with testing or vaccination verification requirements.”
Outdoor concerts will also be allowed, but not large, multi-day events.
Come April 15, will supply meet the demand?
By April 15, if millions of people try to get the vaccine, it will take a month. The eligibility will open up – the opportunity will be there. (Might have to wait a few weeks to get the vaccine.)
Don’t anticipate substantial increase in vaccine.