As of Tuesday San Joaquin County has moved into the orange, or “moderate” tier under the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. This means that more indoor businesses will be open, plus fewer restrictions on businesses that have already been allowed to reopen.

This week the state Department of Public Health reported that the county had recorded 4.1 new COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 residents, and the 7-day average for people testing positive for the coronavirus was at 2.1%.

It signals a full reopening of shopping centers and malls and a higher indoor capacity allowed for restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and live entertainment events such as concerts. Restrictions still include no indoor service at bars where food is not served, and private gatherings are limited to 100 people unless folks can provide proof of vaccination, which increases that number to 300. Saunas and steam rooms as well as nightclubs still must remain closed.

The state readjusted its tier system two months ago after reaching a vaccination threshold of 4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered on April 6. Since then, any county reporting fewer than six cases per-100,000 for at least two consecutive weeks can move into the orange tier.

San Joaquin County reached that case threshold the week ending May 15, 4.8 new cases per-100,000, and reported 4.1 cases per-100,000 the week ending May 22, allowing the county to move into the orange tier this week

Once the county reaches less than two new cases per-100,000 it can move into the even less restrictive yellow tier, but as of June 15 the state will lift its restrictions statewide, allowing businesses to return to usual operations, leaving in place some restrictions for large gatherings with 5,000 or more people indoors or 10,000 or more outdoors.

As of Tuesday, the state reported that more than 37.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered.

The rate of new COVID-19 infections continues to decline, with numbers of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths back to where they were early in the pandemic more than a year ago.

San Joaquin County has reported 73,899 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic last spring, including 861 cases that are presently considered active cases. A total of 1,419 people have died of COVID-19 in San Joaquin County, including 12 people during the first three weeks of May. Tracy has had 7,494 cases, including 81 people who have died.

The San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services reported that 27 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Tuesday, the lowest number of hospitalizations since October 2020, with 22 hospitalizations reported on Oct. 22, 2020. The last time before that when fewer than 30 people were hospitalized in a day was in early June 2020.

Sutter Tracy Community Hospital did not have any COVID-19 patients as of Tuesday.

The California Department of Public Health reported 1,328 hospitalizations for COVID-19 statewide, including 1,057 confirmed cases and 271 suspected cases, as of Sunday. That’s the lowest number since the state began reporting those number in late March 2020. Daily hospitalizations dipped below 3,000 in late October 2020 before climbing to a new peak of nearly 23,000 hospitalizations in early January. Hospitalizations again dipped below 3,000 in late March and continue to decline.

The 7-day average of new cases in the state dropped below 1,200 last week, but previously unreported cases from Los Angeles County pushed that average above 1,660 at the end of the week. The last time the 7-day average of new cases was below 1,600 was back in April 2020 about two months into the initial spread of COVID-19 in California.

Deaths statewide are on the decline as well, reaching a 7-day average of less than 40 per-day in mid-May, again with a brief surge last week because of the previously unreported deaths from Los Angeles County.

The last time the 7-day average for deaths was below 40 was in early November 2020 before the surge in cases and deaths in the winter. A 7-day average of 30 deaths per-day on May 20 is the lowest since early April 2020 at the start of the pandemic.

• Contact the Tracy Press at or 209-835-3030.

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