County Remains in the Red Tier
State public health officials have released new health equity figures aimed at spotlighting disparities in neighborhoods that have higher shares of positive tests than the rest of their counties. The new metric serves as a third test going forward that will decide in which of the state’s pandemic tracking system’s four tiers a county falls into – from purple for “widespread” risk to yellow for “minimal” risk.
In Orange County’s census tracts where residents have lower incomes, less health care access and other socioeconomic obstacles, the share of tests coming back positive for the virus is 6.6%, about double the county as a whole. Until testing positivity in the county’s most impacted neighborhoods drops below 5.2%, Orange County will remain in the red tier for “substantial” risk. Counties with lower disparities in shares of tests coming back positive will advance faster through the four tiers, allowing more business and public sectors to reopen, and letting those that already have to increase their indoor capacity.
“We all know that low-income Latino, Black and Pacific Islander Californians have been the hardest hit in this pandemic,” Dr. Erica Pan, acting state health officer, said during a news conference Tuesday, Oct. 6. “Our goal is to reduce disease transmission in all communities, especially those most at risk.”