Merced County inching closer to moving into orange tier

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Merced County is now making a move in the right direction when it comes to the COVID-19 fight.

A dropping case rate this week puts the county on the path to move into the Orange tier next week.

Mayor Matthew Serratto is confident the numbers will allow that to happen.

"We had a good weekend," he said. "Very few new cases and we had a pretty significant drop from 6.2 to 4.6 per 100,000, so we're pretty solidly in the orange tier right now. We just have to hang on for a week and we'll be there."

Many people have been dining outdoors where they can but business owners want to see some of the crowds come back.

A move to the orange tier would mean Merced-area restaurants could increase indoor capacity to 50% at a time when everyone wants to enjoy some air conditioning.

"Outside, it seems they're doing really well," says supervisor Daron McDaniel. "I think they're anxious to have people be able to come inside before we get a heat wave."

McDaniel is chairman of the Board of Supervisors.

He knows Merced County residents are ready for a change because he's noticed most of their questions are not COVID-related.

"We're back to people complaining about the roads, complaining about the trash dumped along the side of the road and just the normal issues that we have to deal with," he said.

It is music to the supervisor's ears, though.

Both county and city leaders expect Merced County to be able to open up a little bit more next week.

"You know, if I was a betting man, and sometimes I am, I think I would bet we'll be in the orange come next Tuesday," Serratto said.

The mayor says it's important people continue to get vaccinated if they haven't done so yet.
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