Butte County moves back to most restrictive Tier 1 status amid COVID-19 surge


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Butte County has moved back into the most restrictive Tier 1 status in California’s reopening plan following a spike in COVID-19 cases reported by The Orion last week

Businesses are expected to comply with safety regulations within one day of this announcement. 

“We have seen an increase in the number of positive cases and we have seen an increase in the number of COVID-19 patients being hospitalized here in the county,” said Danette York, director of the Butte County Public Health Department. “During the week of Oct. 13 to Oct. 19, we had 27 total positive cases. … A month later, from Nov. 10 to Nov. 16, we were up to 165 total cases for a week.”

Tier 1 requires that some non-essential businesses completely suspend operations, while others will follow new limits on capacity and other required modifications. A full breakdown of each tier and its respective requirements is available through the California Department of Health website.

Following the Tier 1 announcement, Chico State announced the closure of the Wildcat Recreation Center

Despite the shift from Tier 3 to Tier 1, The Grove, Chico State’s new socially distanced study area, will remain open. Chico State announced the opening of the space on Monday.

Chico State public relations said the move to Tier 1 will not affect current working arrangements for Chico State employees. 

As for K-12 education, any schools that opened while Butte County was in Tier 3 will remain open, but those schools are encouraged not to increase capacity. 

Currently, Butte County has a running total of 3,462 cases, with 184 individuals currently in isolation; 3,221 people have been released from isolation. 

The shift from Tier 3 to Tier 1 has come as a surprise to Butte County Public Health officials, who expected the county to be moved into Tier 2. Instead, the California Department of Health skipped Tier 2 entirely, moving Butte County to Tier 1. 

Butte County health officials advise avoiding social gatherings. But if gatherings happen, officials recommend holding them outside, with a max attendance of three households. 

Officials put an emphasis on hand washing and social distancing, and the health department also encourages citizens to support local businesses following safety guidelines. 

Joel Moret can be reached at [email protected] or @JoelMTheOrion on Twitter.