While Tulare County met the guidelines for the least restrictive tier, yellow, on Tuesday, the county will remain in the next least restrictive tier, orange, for one last week.

Tulare County was officially left in the orange tier on Tuesday even though the county met the yellow tier guidelines. The standard that a county has to meet the guidelines for two weeks was applied when it came to Tulare County moving into the yellow tier.

That's a moot point since the tier system is going away next week. The state will fully reopen its economy on June 15 with no restrictions.

But the fact Tulare County met the yellow tier guidelines shows the situation as far as the status of COVID-19 in the county continues to improve.

Tulare County's case rate per 100,000 over a 7-day period fell below the yellow tier standard of 2 per 100,000 at 1.5 per 100,000 or .0015 percent. The county's positive test rates also met the yellow tier standards.

Tulare County's overall positive test rate is 1.5 percent and it's test rate for its most disadvantaged areas is actually better at 1.1 percent. The case rate and positive test numbers would have been good enough to place the county in the yellow tier — if the county had maintained those numbers for two weeks.

The number of active cases in Tulare County continues to fall. As of Tuesday, Tulare County Health and Human Services reported there were 144 people in Tulare County who have currently tested positive for COVID-19.

The number of overall cases in Tulare County also continues to be adjusted as the determination of what a “presumed” case is and what a “confirmed” case is continues. Since March 11, 2020 there have been 49,813 cases in Tulare County. It had been originally determined in the past Tulare County had more than 50,000 cases.

Another really encouraging number is the continued considerable drop of Tulare County's R number which measures the rate of spread of the virus. And as of Tuesday Tulare County can claim to have the lowest R number in the state and by a considerable amount.

Tulare County's R number is .45 which is well within the “likely decreasing” category, which means the county's rate of spread of the virus is expected to increase at a considerably lower rate than its current rate of increase. The county with the next lowest R number is El Dorado County at .59. The number .46 is the average number of people who would be infected by one infected person.

There have been 848 people in Tulare County who have died due to COVID-19. Sierra View Medical Center has had 165 deaths due to COVID-19.

On Monday Sierra View reported it had two COVID-19 patients and three patients suspected of having COVID-19.

NO FREEDOM FEST

It doesn't come as a surprise the City of Porterville Parks and Leisure Services had to cancel Freedom Fest for the second straight year. Even though the situation as far as COVID-19 continues to improve the Freedom Fest is a logistically challenging event that takes months to plan.

State guidelines as far as allowing larger events have been loosened, but guidelines for such events as Freedom still depend on what tier a county is in and the least restrictive guidelines for such events don't go into effect until next week.

As of today, the same holds true,” said City of Porterville Parks and Leisure Services Director Donnie Moore about the county still being in the orange tier, which essentially prevents the Freedom Fest from being held because there wouldn't be nearly enough time to prepare for the event.

Logistical planning, along with sponsorships obtained for Freedom Fest, begin in February due to the magnitude of the event, Moore added.

Freedom Fest is normally held at the Porterville Sports Complex on the Saturday before July 4, which would have been July 3 this year.

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