FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- After a week of hitting the state's COVID-19 metrics, Madera County seemed poised to move into the less restrictive 'red tier.'
But Tuesday, health officials shattered those hopes, announcing the county's stay in the widespread 'purple tier.'
"Our businesses, especially our small businesses, cannot hold on much longer," said Bobby Kahn, Executive Director for the Madera County Economic Development Commission. "They are really suffering."
Kahn said this is another hit for business owners, many of which are on the verge of closing permanently.
"People have literally used up all their personal savings and have even sold some of their furniture to keep their business going," he said.
Sara Bosse, the Madera County Public Health director, said there's two reasons why the county wasn't able to move up. The biggest contributing factor is a smaller population.
"That makes our data more volatile, just a few cases changes the case rate and the positivity rate by a pretty significant amount," she said.
Virus spread is another concern. According to Bosse, 75% of their cases are from people who contract COVID-19 through household contact.
"We'll have one person that gets the illness and then in the following week, all of their household members get the illness as well," she said.
The highest concentration of cases is in the city of Madera.
To help bring those numbers down, the Madera Chamber of Commerce and other agencies have been distributing PPE.
They've also been awarding struggling businesses with grants.
"There isn't any time to relax we have to be very strong and hold on to those public health orders," said Debi Bray, Chamber of Commerce CEO.
The Chamber of Commerce plans on doing another PPE distribution in mid-November.
Madera County public health director: Population a factor in county remaining in 'purple tier'
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