MONTEREY COUNTY — The case rate metrics are not yet at a point where Monterey County can shift from the Orange Tier to the less-restrictive Yellow Tier, but county Health Officer Dr. Edward Moreno said the overall pattern observed is a positive trend toward reopening.

“Over a period of time the rate has been decreasing slowly,” Moreno said during a press briefing on May 12. “We will occasionally see bumps up or dips down along the way, but overall the trend has been decreasing, so as long as we continue to do what we’ve been doing and more people get vaccinated, I’m hopeful that eventually Monterey County may meet the Yellow Tier criteria and move into the Yellow Tier.”

To move to the less-restrictive tier, the county would have to not only meet the Yellow Tier metrics, such as a case rate of fewer than 1.9 per 100,000, but also maintain those metrics for two consecutive weeks.

Moreno reported an estimated 63% of county residents who are eligible for Covid-19 vaccines have had at least one dose, which was currently those age 16 or older. The state has since shifted toward providing vaccines for youth ages 12 to 15 as well.

“Strategies that will be used in California to vaccinate the age group will be to make vaccine clinic appointments available to that age group at our urgent care centers, pharmacies, primary care offices, mass vaccination clinics and public clinics,” Moreno said.

Moreno explained the state has also been encouraging pediatric providers to complete training to meet the requirements to vaccinate teenagers against Covid-19, receive vaccines and begin to schedule appointments for them.

With youth vaccinations becoming widespread, Moreno explained he isn’t aware of any requirements for students or student-athletes to be vaccinated at the middle or high school level.

Regarding the wearing of masks with increased immunity, Moreno said if people who are immunized choose to wear a mask, that’s a personal choice and he supported their decision to do so.

“There are individuals who are still transitioning into fewer restrictions and they feel more comfortable wearing a mask,” he said.

For residents seeking vaccines, especially those in the newly opened teen age group, Moreno recommended visiting to search for opportunities to get vaccinated.

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Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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