Inyo Finally Goes to Red Tier: Bypasses 45 Percent Vaccination Rate

Terrance Vestal
Special to the Times

Inyo County officially received word late Tuesday morning that it has met Red Tier condi- tions under the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy based on the county’s COVID vaccina- tion and case rates.

The status means a lessening of restrictions on gatherings and economic activity.

According to Wednesday’s update, the latest as of press time, Inyo County had 1,417 confirmed COVID cases with nine active and 38 deaths reported.
Marilynn Mann, director of Inyo County’s Health and Human Services Department, said Tuesday that because the state reached 4 million doses of vaccine administered last week, state health officials have been making some additional adjustments to the tiers and to the tier chart. The Blueprint for a
Safer Economy is being adjusted effective today, April 15, to make it to move through the tiers based on case rates.

Mann said today also marks the day that vac- cines will be available for all individuals who are 16 and older.

“We are fully prepared to move forward with finding ways to continue robust vaccine clinics throughout the county,” Mann said.

She said county health officials are expecting the state to make some adjustments to how small county case rates are looked at in the tier move-
ment rather than a base 10/100,000 case rate, which is hardly meaning- ful in a county of about 18,000. The adjustments are expected to have more leeway as far as what it would take for a rural county to move to a more restrictive tier.

As state health officials continue to make adjust- ments to the tier system leading up to a statewide reopening date of June 15, it has stirred up some con- fusion in the business community as far as what can open and at what capacity.

Inyo County Assistant County Administrative Officer Leslie Chapman, who has been the county business liaison during the pandemic, said she is get- ting some feedback from some businesses that “things are getting a little confusing again.”

“And I feel a little confused,” Chapman said, adding that she would be pulling some facts together and emailing them to the businesses that she has on her distribution list this week.

Anna Scott, deputy director for the county’s Health and Human Services Department, said, as of the end of last week, Inyo County is tracking to have about 35% of its total population fully vaccinated. Scott said that the state of California overall this week is approaching 20% fully vaccinated within the entire population older than age.

She said the 35% Inyo vaccination total includes the county’s total population. Looking at the county’s population older than the age of 18, Inyo is approaching a 45% vaccination rate.