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SB County suffers setback in COVID-19 battle

San Bernardino County has failed to reach the state’s red-tier designation regarding COVID-19, which would have lifted some restrictions on some businesses, especially restaurants and bars.

Earlier this week, the county expressed confidence that it would move from the purple tier, the most restrictive designation, to the red tier.

On Tuesday, “deeply disappointed” county officials announced that an increase in COVID-19 case since Labor Day, combined with not enough testing, kept the county from reaching the red tier designation it needs to help get its economy moving again.

“Though our county has made excellent progress since July, when COVID-19 infections peaked, we recently experienced a notable spike in new cases, which our analysis shows was largely due to social gatherings over the Labor Day weekend,” said Corwin Porter, the county’s public health director, in the statement. 

Speaking to the board of supervisors, Porter described a spike in cases among persons 18-34 years old, and that nearly 60 percent of the reported cases in the last 28 days stemmed from gatherings of friends or family.

State laws require a county to maintain “supportive numbers” for two weeks, and to continue those numbers to remain in its present tier. That means San Bernardino County must start a new 14-day tracking period.

“We share the disappointment in this news, but at the same time, we know we continue to be very close to breaking this threshold,” said board Chairman Curt Hagman in the statement. “With a little more effort, we can enable restaurants and other businesses to serve customers indoors, theaters to open, churches and synagogues to expand worship services, and schools to provide in-person instruction.

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