Stanislaus County waits for COVID cases to lower before moving into red tier

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MODESTO, Calif. (KTXL) — While Stanislaus County’s infection rates have dropped significantly since the peak of the pandemic, they haven’t dropped low enough to meet the state’s criteria to move up to the red tier.

Stanislaus County at 13.6% per 100,000 people. The state mandates infection rate at 10% or lower.

The last time Stanislaus County was in the red tier was before the holidays and business owners say getting back there would be a big help.

Owner Larry Cary has been serving customers at his Modesto restaurant, The Brighter Side, for 45 years. He and other business owners are anxiously awaiting a return to the red tier.

“We’re doing maybe half to two-thirds business, is what we’re doing,” Cary said.

Cary says he wants to get back to doing business like before the pandemic.

“We hope to get back to that at some point and take chairs off the tables and be able to come in and sit down and enjoy the fire and all that sort of thing,” Cary said.

But that return to the red tier will likely have to wait at least another week.

“The way this, the slow pattern, is going, it could be next week or the week after next, it would be soon but unfortunately not soon enough,” Cary said.

Stanislaus County Public Health spokeswoman Kamlesh Kaur says the infection rate is still too high to meet the state’s criteria for reopening after the county recorded several days with more than 100 positive cases last week.

“The case rates were dropping and now it has sort of plateaued a little bit,” Kaur said.

She says people gathering has been a big contributor.

“Social situations, that’s where a lot of people let their guards down. This is not the time to let their guard down for us to move forward, for more businesses to open, for our schools to open,” Kaur said.

Kaur says people need to continue to get vaccinated and follow safety guidelines so the county can move back to the red tier.

“We can do it, we have done it before, it was our community members who did it, they followed all the precautions and they got us, our case rates, below seven for us to open in the red tier before, and I know they can do it again,” Kaur said.

Cary says that while he’s excited to eventually have his regular customers back inside, he’ll continue to follow precautions to keep customers healthy.

“Let’s get over it. Let’s get things back on track. Everybody stay safe,” Cary said.

Stanislaus County Public Health is encouraging people to continue to follow those guidelines so they can continue to reopen.

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