Merced County hoping to move into red tier

As of Monday, the county's case rate is a little over 10 cases per 100,000, which is close to meeting the state's red tier requirements.

Video Transcript

NATALIE GRANDA: Merced County is hoping to see red soon as it remains one of just two counties in California to still be in the more restrictive purple tier.

SALVADOR SANDOVAL: We're very good on-- on the positivity rate, but the case rate is still higher than the state wants.

NATALIE GRANDA: Dr. Salvador Sandoval with the Merced County Public Health Department says there are several factors that play into that issue. One is that they're testing more in vulnerable communities. He also says a state data glitch is a reason to blame for those higher numbers.

SALVADOR SANDOVAL: There was a data glitch with the state mainly. It dumped I believe, about 180 cases on the weekend, so it looked like our case rate had actually gone up when it had not.

NATALIE GRANDA: Sandoval says the vaccine rollout was also slower than they'd hoped.

SALVADOR SANDOVAL: The vaccine rollout was based on the number of providers in the community and manpower. We're a physician shortage area.

NATALIE GRANDA: But now county officials are feeling hopeful. As of Monday, the county's case rate is a little over 10 cases per 100,000, which is close to meeting the state's red tier requirement. With more vaccines coming in, the county has also opened a new large scale vaccination site in Atwater, which aims to vaccinate 400 people a day.

SALVADOR SANDOVAL: Basically offering the vaccine to anyone 16 and over because the sooner the sooner we can vaccinate the majority of the people and simplify the mechanisms because the tiers have been very difficult for people to understand.

NATALIE GRANDA: Dr. Sandoval says so for a little over 14% of the county's population has been vaccinated. In Merced County, Natalie Granda, "ABC 30 Action News".