Fresno County stays in 'red tier' of reopening California, for now

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- After at least six long and painful months, businesses who were still financially able to were allowed to safely reopen.

But now there's a growing concern as winter approaches that if cases rise and not enough residents are being tested, it could move Fresno County into a more restrictive tier.

"We need to get our testing numbers up according to the state, but again, looking at the methodology of the state, the state continues to change the rules of the game so to speak when it comes to COVID," says Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig.

Initially, state leaders based widespread closures on hospital capacities and the availability of beds and equipment to serve COVID-19 patients. But now it's a formula that some feel penalizes businesses who are not to blame.

"For me, it's just another layer of stress that we don't need to have, and I believe something similar has been done for the schools, once the schools are open, it's my understanding they aren't going to close down," says Fresno County Supervisor Brian Pacheco. "I wish we could apply those same metrics for our business community."

Fresno County supervisors are not exempt from the rollercoaster of emotions that come each time new COVID-19 statistics are released by the state. Tuesday was no different.

"We're all crossing our fingers and it looks like we'll be able to stay in the 'red' tier as the governor makes the announcement," says Fresno County Supervisor Steve Brandau. "I know a lot of our business owners are very nervous about that."

But the board has decided as a group to take a stand for businesses and help them to remain open, even if Fresno County dips into the undesirable 'purple' tier.

"Really, this isn't caused by businesses reopening," says Buddy Mendes. "This is still caused by, you know, people just getting together. Unregulated gatherings."

Currently in Fresno County, 95 people are in the hospital with the coronavirus and 25 are in the intensive care unit.

Fresno County officials did acknowledge pandemic fatigue as a contributing factor to the reason testing has declined.
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