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Santa Barbara- S County

In the red (tier) means less- restrictive when it comes to California’s COVID-19 tracking system

new county tiers
State of California
These four color-coded tiers will help the state classify the severity of COVID-19 spread in each county.

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. -- California's COVID-19 trends are being tracked based on the state's new four-color tier system, but the math isn't always easy to follow.

Vanessa Arellano called it confusing, but she knows the color red could be good for her school-aged children and the restaurant she helps run in Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara County Supervisor Gregg Hart said if the county reports less than seven new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents a day it will be able to move from the purple tier to the less-restrictive red tier.

Since there are 450,000 residents in the county, the math would look like 7 times 4.5, or less than 32 new cases reported a day countywide.

The numbers can be a turn-off, but basically the purple tier means there are widespread cases and the red tier means there are substantial cases.

Ultimately the county would like to be in the orange (moderate) or yellow (minimal) tiers.

The colors are a pathway to reopening and returning to school.

But doctors have said the numbers often lag by transmission events that occur 2-4 weeks earlier.

Infectious Disease Doctor Lynn Fitzgibbons of Cottage-Health urges people to take care of their health by wearing masks and physically distancing.

She said that behavior has helped COVID-19 related hospitalizations go down.

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor of KCOY|KEYT|KKFX.