Secretary Mark Ghaly’s Tuesday afternoon update on COVID spread in California, cued to the relevant moment.


The state’s Department of Health and Human Services downgraded Humboldt County from a “purple tier” to a “red tier” county this afternoon, meaning that it now categorizes the COVID pandemic in the county as “substantial” rather than “widespread.”

The move — based on recent per-capita rates of new cases, positive test percentages and “health equity,” with the latter being a measure of the virus’ disproportionate spread among disadvantaged populations — makes Humboldt one of only four counties in the state outside of the most restrictive tier.

The change in status could mean that new business activities in the county could become allowable soon, subject to local orders. For instance, under state guidelines restaurants may serve customers indoors again, and gyms may open with limited capacity.  

Humboldt County was the only county in the state to move up or down a tier this week.

We’ll probably get more information on this move from the county’s Joint Information Center later today, and we’ll update when we do. Until then, you can get more information on the differences between red and purple tiers from the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy website.