According to a Harvard University study, Tulare County is close to the “tipping point” when it comes to its status as far COVID-19 is concerned.

The Harvard study also places Tulare County in a category in which a stay at home order is advised. The Harvard study places counties into four zones: green, yellow, orange and red.

Green indicates a county is on its way to containing the virus while a county in the yellow zone is described as having “community spread.”

Tulare County is in the orange spread which indicates “accelerated spread.” Tulare County has 21.4 cases per 100,000 residents over a 7-day period, according to the study.

The Harvard study states for counties in the orange tier, “stay at home orders and/or rigorous testing and tracing programs are advised.”

Counties in the red zone have 25 or more cases per 100,000 and are considered to be at a “tipping point” in which the Harvard study states state at home orders are necessary. Seventeen counties, including Fresno County, in the state are in the red zone.

While Tulare County wants to stay out of the red zone when it comes to the Harvard Study, it's hoping to eventually make it into the red tier as far as what sectors it can open. But it's going to be well into next year before Tulare County will make it into the red tier.

The state's most updated stat has Tulare County at 17.6 cases per 100,000 residents over a 7-day period. Tulare County's preliminary, unofficial case rate updated on Thursday is 17.5 cases per 100,000.

The bottom line is Tulare County needs to reduce that number to 7 per 100,000 before it can move into the red tier.

Tulare County meets the red tier standard when it comes to its positive test rates. When Tulare County meets the standards to move from the most restrictive tier, purple, to the next least restrictive tier, red, it must maintain those numbers for two weeks to move into the red tier. Restaurants can then open indoors at 25 percent capacity, churches can open indoors at 25 percent capacity, movie theaters can open on a limited basis and schools can reopen to all students.

As far as local schools Springville became the latest school to be approved by the county to reopen for grades K-6. That approval needs to be reviewed by the state and once that process is finished Springville will then be able to reopen.

Springville is on the way to joining numerous local schools who have reopened or are in the process of reopening for grades K-6, including Burton School District and Porterville Unified School District. Woodville's waiver to reopen for grades K-6 is still being reviewed by the county.

There was again a slight increase in the number of active cases in Tulare County. Tulare County Health and Human Services reported there are 1,024 people in Tulare County who have COVID-19, an increase of 20 over the previous day.

The health department reported an increase 92 cases on Thursday while there was also an increase of 70 in recoveries.

Since March 11 there have been 19,553 cases in Tulare County. There are now 18.226 people in Tulare County who have recovered after testing positive for COVID-19.

The health department reported two more deaths on Thursday, bringing the total number of deaths due to COVID-19 in Tulare County to 303. Tulare County has data on 300 deaths of which 233 were 65 or older, 63 were ages 41-64 and four were under the age of 41.

There have been 119 deaths that have been related to nursing homes and 181 deaths not related to nursing homes. The state model now projects Tulare County to have 329 deaths by December 19.

Tulare County's R number continues to be in the “likely increasing” category, meaning the rate of increase is expected to be higher than what it is now. Tulare County's R number is now the same as the state's.

The county's and state's R number is 1.14. That number represents the average number of people who would be infected by one infected person.

Since March 11 there have been 3,345 cases in the Porterville area, 282 cases in Strathmore, 212 cases in Terra Bella, 741 cases in Lindsay, 58 cases in foothill-mountain communities, 146 cases in Richgrove, 28 cases in Alpaugh, 339 cases in Pixley, 112 cases in Tipton, 772 cases in Earlimart, 3,190 cases in Tulare, 2,043 cases in Dinuba, 580 cases in Farmersville, 425 cases in Exeter, 337 cases in Woodlake, 397 cases in Cutler, 703 cases in Orosi, 47 cases in Goshen, 103 cases in Traver, 16 case in the Reedley area and 11 cases in Orange Cove.

In Visalia there have been 2,332 cases in one region, 1,346 cases in another region and 1,610 cases in a third region.

There have been 2,770 cases ages 0-17, 3,110 cases ages 18-25, 5,609 cases ages 26-40, 6,084 cases ages 41-64 and 1,970 cases ages 65 and older.

There have been 11,309 cases who have been Hispanic, 1,986 have been Caucasian, 364 have been Asian, 101 have been African American, 73 have been Native American, 399 have been multi race and 5,321 are unknown.

There are 780 people in Tulare County who are under self-quarantine and being monitored by public health officials.

As of Wednesday Sierra View Medical Center reported it had 20 COVID-19 patients and six patients suspected of having COVID-19. Sierra View has had 52 deaths due to COVID-19. Sierra View reported eight of its 10 ICU beds were in use and eight of its 16 ventilators were in use.

With a population of nearly 470,000 people Tulare County has had a rate of 4.2 cases per 100 residents or 4.2 percent.

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