Following a surge in COVID cases, California has moved Santa Clara County to its most restrictive Tier 1, the "Purple tier, along with dozens of other counties in order to once again slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Governor Gavin Newsom said in a Monday press briefing that the state was “pulling an emergency brake” as cases spiked around California. Officials announced the rollback of 39 counties to more restrictive tiers, including 28 moved into the "Purple" category. They said this put some 94 percent of California residents under the tightest restrictions.
“We are sounding the alarm,” declared Governor Newsom in the announcement. “California is experiencing the fastest increase in cases we have seen yet – faster than what we experienced at the outset of the pandemic or even this summer. The spread of COVID-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes.”
The "Purple" tier represents “widespread” cases under the state’s four-tier ranking system, defined as more than seven new cases each day per 100,000 people, and/or a percent-positivity rate among those being tested of 8% or greater.
Effective November 17, the county will be under tighter limitations, with indoor gatherings and events, indoor dining, gyms, museums, religious services, and movie theaters all being shut down once again.
Communications from the state also emphasized that it has updated mask guidance mandates that people must wear masks when outside their homes “with limited exceptions.”
Exceptions include people who are outdoors and at least six feet away from others not in their households. Everyone must carry a face covering to use when they can’t maintain six feet of distance.
Children under two years old, who can be at risk of suffocation from face coverings, and people with medical conditions that make masks dangerous for them are also excepted.
“We are in the midst of a surge, and time is of the essence,” stated California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “Every day matters and every decision matters. Personal decisions are critical, and I am imploring every Californian to stay home if they can, wear a mask whenever they leave their homes, limit mixing, practice physical distancing and wash their hands.”
Newsom urged Californians to stay the course as they entered yet another period of stricter lockdown. “Now is the time to do all we can — government at all levels and Californians across the state — to flatten the curve again as we have done before,” the governor said.