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Orange County COVID-19 Rates Aren't Quite Low Enough For Red Tier, But Youth Sports Are Set To Resume

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A sign displays directions to a COVID-19 mass vaccination site at Disneyland in Anaheim on Jan. 13, 2021. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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Orange County is moving closer to exiting the most restrictive tier of California's color-coded coronavirus monitoring list.

Dr. Clayton Chau, the head of Orange County's Health Care Agency, said the county's positivity rate is now 5.2% overall, and 6.7% in the hardest-hit neighborhoods.

Those figures would put the county in the red tier, but the county's adjusted case rate would also need to come down. It's already dropped dramatically -- down to 11 cases per 100,000 residents -- but it would need to drop to seven.

"We're just waiting for our case rate to drop to the red tier," Chau said at Tuesday's county supervisors meeting. "Once we have all three measures in the red tier, we maintain that for two weeks, and then we will be transitioned into the red tier."

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Moving to the red tier would mean Orange County restaurants, movie theaters, gyms and museums could resume indoor operations at limited capacity.

The county is also planning to allow youth sports, including full-contact sports such as football, to resume outdoors this Friday. That's when new state guidance goes into effect allowing for counties with case rates below 14 per 100,000. For high-contact sports such as rugby, football and water polo, weekly COVID testing is required.

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