ulare County has now met the metric for schools to reopen for grades K-6. But local school officials have said all along it will take some time for in-person instruction to be offered on a more expanded basis.

Tulare County's official COVID-19 case rate fell below 25 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day period on Tuesday. The state's standard for schools to reopen for grades K-6 in counties who are in the purple tier, including Tulare County, is 25 cases per 100,000.

Tulare County now meets that threshold as its official case rate was 24.8 per 100,000 on Tuesday. But there are also other restrictions and safety standards in place for schools to re-open for grades K-6. Local school officials say logistically it's a challenge to meet those standards as far as opening for grades K-6 is concerned. Local officials add schools really won't be able to open on a more expanded basis until the county's case rate falls to 7 per 100,000. That's when schools can open for grades K-12 with far less restrictions.

Overall, Tulare County's metrics continue to head in the right direction and the red tier is on the horizon again. Tulare County is again on the verge of meeting the standard for moving into the red tier when it comes to its overall positive test rate.

Tulare County's overall positive test rate is now 8.4 percent, just above the 8 percent threshold to move into the red tier. The county's equity metric positive test rate also continues to come down and is now down to 11 percent. That positive test rate must also come down to eight percent for Tulare County to move into the red tier.

The county must also reduce its case rate to 7 per 100,000 to move into the red tier and continues to move in that direction. Tulare County Health and Human Services reported on Tuesday the county's unofficial, preliminary case rate was 20.5 per 100,000, a decline of 6.1 from from the previous number reported on Friday.

While numerous restaurants in Tulare County are offering indoor dining — which is against the purple tier guidelines — restaurants would be allowed to provide indoor dining at 25 percent capacity in the red tier. Among other places that could open again at a limited capacity in the red tier is movie theaters.

There was also a huge drove in the number of active cases. The number of active cases dropped by 302 on Tuesday from the previous number reported. There are now 1,456 people in Tulare County who have tested positive for COVID-19.

There was also a huge increase of recoveries. The number of recoveries increased by 516 over the holiday weekend. There are now 44,781 people who have recovered after testing positive for COVID-19.

The overall increase in cases was also lower than it has been. The number of cases over the four-day holiday weekend increased by 220 or 55 per day. Since March 11 there have been 46,934 cases in Tulare County.

And while there were more deaths, the increase in deaths was also much lower that what the trend has been. The health department reported six more deaths over the four-day weekend, far lower than the recent trend of 10 or more deaths per day.

There are now 697 people in Tulare County who have died due to COVID-19. The health department has data on 691 deaths of which 527 were ages 65 and older, 149 were ages 41-64 and 14 were ages 26-40.

One child in Tulare County has died due to complications with COVID-19. There have been 187 deaths related to nursing homes and 504 deaths not related to nursing homes. Sierra View Medical Center has had 138 deaths due to COVID-19.

Tulare County's R number which measures the rate of spread of the virus remained about the same at .77, putting it in the “likely decreasing” category. That means the rate of the virus is expected to increase at a lower level than its current rate. The number .77 represents the average number of people who would be infected by one infected person.

Since March 11 there have been 9,470 cases in the Porterville area, 42 cases in foothill-mountain communities, 144 cases in Springville, 684 cases in Terra Bella, 611 cases in Strathmore, 1,752 cases in Lindsay, 8,305 cases in Tulare, 4,000 cases in Dinuba, 313 cases in Richgrove, 751 cases in Pixley, 349 cases in Tipton, 1,397 cases in Earlimart, 1,132 cases in Farmersville, 996 cases in Exeter, 51 cases in Three Rivers, 869 cases in Woodlake, 733 cases in Cutler, 1,386 cases in Orosi, 87 cases in Goshen, 235 cases in Traver, 57 cases in the Reedley area, 21 cases in Orange Cove and 483 cases in Ivanhoe.

In Visalia there have been 5,126 cases in one region, 3,384 cases in another region and 4,058 cases in a third region.

There have been 6,964 cases ages 0-17, 7,294 cases ages 18-25, 13,221 cases ages 26-40, 14,559 cases ages 41-64 and 4,870 cases ages 65 and older.

There have been 25,924 cases who have been Hispanic, 6,459 have been Caucasian, 923 have been Asian, 326 have been African American, 299 have been Native American, 1,555 have been multi-race and 11,448 are unknown.

There are 295 people in Tulare County under self-quarantine being monitored by public health officials.

On Friday Sierra View reported it had 25 COVID-19 patients and seven patients suspected of having COVID-19. Sierra View reported nine of its 10 ICU beds were in use. Sierra View reported nine of its 34 ventilators were in use.

Sierra View reported it now has eight employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, including six who are hospitalized. There are 162 employees who have recovered after testing positive for COVID-19. Sierra View has had a total of 1,082 positive tests.

With a population of 477,000 people, Tulare County has had a rate of 9.8 cases per 100,000 residents or 9.8 percent.

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