Santa Clara County Moves to Most Restrictive ‘Purple Tier’ as Covid-19 Cases Continue to Rise

Under a Nov. 16 directive by Gov. Gavin Newsom, Santa Clara County will revert to the state’s most restrictive reopening tier due to the rapidly increasing rate of Covid-19 cases being transmitted among the community.

New restrictions under the “purple tier” of the state’s reopening framework will begin at midnight Nov. 17. This means indoor dining and indoor gatherings will be prohibited, and tighter capacity limits will be in place for retail and other commercial activities, until the county is able to climb back up to the red or orange tier. Indoor gyms and fitness centers will be closed under the purple tier as well.

As of last week, Santa Clara County officials were expecting the state to impose more mandatory restrictions on public business due to the recent sudden—and accelerating—increase in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations.

However, county officials thought they would be placed into the “red” tier, which is slightly less restrictive than the purple tier. For about the last month, Santa Clara County has been in the state’s orange tier, which allowed some indoor dining and other public gathering activities.

The purple tier indicates that community transmission in the county is “widespread,” according to the state’s framework.

Newsom announced Nov. 16 that dozens of counties in California are in the purple tier starting on Tuesday. The rollback is related to data cited by Newsom that show statewide Covid-19 cases have doubled in the last 10 days. Santa Clara County is now one of 41 California counties assigned to the purple tier.

On Nov. 16, the county recorded 388 new cases of Covid-19—one of the highest single-day case tallies since the pandemic began. Santa Clara County Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody added that over the weekend, her office has also noticed local hospitalizations from Covid-19 rising at an accelerating pace.

Similar increases in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations have occurred in recent weeks in other states, according to public health officials.

But Dr. Cody said Santa Clara County has gone through the tighter restrictions before and can climb back out again by following safety practices recommended to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

“We need every single person in our county taking this extremely seriously,” Dr. Cody said at the press conference. “We know this virus can spread silently jump from person to person, and show up in long-term care facilities, skilled nursing homes or somebody’s home…We can all do our part to prevent that from happening, and we really need to.”

County Counsel James Williams explained that Newsom skipped the red tier in enacting more restrictions for Santa Clara and other counties due to the lag time between new Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations or deaths resulting from those cases.

“The faster you act when you have exponential growth (in the virus’ spread), the more meaningful the impact, the more lives you can save and the more serious illnesses you can avoid,” Williams said.

Other restrictions in the purple tier include the closure of indoor gyms and fitness centers, and 25-percent capacity limits for retail and most other indoor business. Nail and hair salons can remain open indoors, but with strict guidelines.

Also under the purple tier, schools that have not yet opened for in-person instruction may not do so until the county is out of the purple tier for two weeks, Williams explained. Schools that are already open can remain open with state and county protocols in place.

In more hopeful pandemic news, the drugmaker Moderna Nov. 16 announced that initial trials of its coronavirus vaccine show the drug is 94.5 percent effective. The county will play a key role in distributing a vaccine when it is available to the public, which won’t be until 2021. Cody said county officials are already planning for the release of the vaccine.

“My hope is 2021 will look very different than 2020,” Dr. Cody said. “It will be another tool to get this under control.”

County officials also used the Nov. 16 press conference to advise residents not to travel during the upcoming holidays. Cody said public health officials “strongly discourage travel outside the Bay Area” this winter.

Supervisor Cindy Chavez also encouraged residents to get their flu shots as a way to safeguard against preventable hospitalizations and doctors’ visits that might occupy resources that could be used to treat Covid-19 patients.

The county will offer flu shots at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, 344Tully Road, every Saturday through Dec. 12, from 9am to 4pm.

“Let’s act like a community,” Chavez said. “Let’s do what we need to do to get as many people across that finish line as we can.”


  1. > Santa Clara County Moves to Most Restrictive ‘Purple Tier’ as Covid-19 Cases Continue to Rise

    Viruses spread. It’s what viruses do.

    The ONLY thing that is going to end the COVID-19 is for the population to reach the state of “herd immunity”.

    Mask, distancing, lockdowns only slow down the spread a tiny bit, if at all.

    Joe Biden wants to lock down the entire United States for four to six weeks. LUNACY!

    Even if the lockdown accomplishes anything, which is doubtful, the pandemic will pick up right where at left off after the lockdown ends.

    There is a growing number of people who support the “lets get it over with” strategy.

    Take off your mask, party hearty in your Biden victory celebrations, enjoy your Trump rallies, scream your lungs out at your antifa riot. It all just moves us closer to herd immunity and the day when Anthony Fauci and Sara Cody will once again be anonymous, harmless bureaucrats.

  2. Based on the county’s website it is probably more accurate to say nothing’s changed of late than it is to even mention an uptick in some numbers. Why? Because the slight uptick in hospitalizations may well be due to changes in treatment protocols. Equipped with new drug therapies that have proved effective at suppressing the infection’s advance to the perilous hyper-inflammatory phase, hospitals may be admitting patients previously trusted to home care. Whether or not this is the case here (as it is elsewhere) is something that Dr. Cody should be telling us, when she’s not otherwise sounding alarms, looking depressed, and dutifully toeing Gruesome Newsom’s line.

    The past week has seen the bed count of COVID hospitalizations increase from 3.5% of all beds to 4.3%, this while the county is averaging 35-40% empty hospital beds per day (non-COVID patients account for another 60% of beds). By the way, COVID deaths have been steady for months (for people not waiting to die in long-term care facilities, the death total for the last month was 16).

    Since the beginning of the pandemic 445 county residents have died, their deaths attributed to COVID. Of that total, 93 were 90+, 113 were 80+, 94 were 70+, and 44 were 60+. That totals 344 out of 445. 44% of all deaths were long-term care patients.

    And school is too dangerous for students? We are getting our chains yanked.

  3. Damn it, so sick of this moronic herd immunity talk. You are spouting other people’s nonsense and have no idea of the reality of what you are saying. Just go to the nearest ICU and hug some COVID patients and get it over with.

  4. If I was a pastor then I am going to hold my Thanksgiving and Christmas services no matter what the government says. You don’t like it then that is your problem.

  5. The above advice on herd immunity amounts to a psychosis–a hard right “herd mentality”–the aim of which is to protect property and business owners from economic and financial losses associated with preemptive and protective public health policies like shutdowns. Libertarian zealots, like Stanford’s Scott Atlas (, are laser-focused on preventing interruptions in business as usual that enables wealth accumulation, but disguise their opposition as a campaign on behalf of personal liberty.

    The herd immunity for which they argue is one in which a new, highly contagious and deadly virus, is allowed to work its way through a susceptible population unhindered until it peters out on its own. Of the more than 11 million known COVID-19 cases in the U.S. thus far, nearly 250,000 people have died yielding a death rate of about 2.2 percent of detected infection cases (

    If these fixated libertarians had their way and the entire U.S. population were to be infected, we could expect some 7.3 million deaths, in addition to about 16.5 million hospitalizations (about 5% of the infected population according to, keeping in mind that at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis there were fewer than 1 million staffed hospital beds in the U.S. ( If some type of herd immunity is achieved with only a 70% infection rate of the total population, as scientists suggest might be the case, total expected deaths would decline to about 5.8 million, with about 11.5 million hospitalizations ( Either way, there would be millions dying unnecessarily and even more millions requiring hospitalization way beyond the capacities of U.S. medical facilities.

    Based on what is presently known about COVID-19, immunity responses from infection, assuming the patient survives, last perhaps as long as 5-7 months and researchers conjecture that such immunity may last longer based on evidence from other SARS-CoV viruses ( Beyond this, there are a number of cases from around the world that reinfections have occurred: people infected with, and who recovered from, COVID-19 were subsequently re-infected within months of their first infection (, so there is a possibility that herd immunity on its own could be reversed by re-infections.

    Thus, rather than develop herd immunity the way it has always been done–on the basis of developing and using vaccines to immunize larger and larger segments of the population over time (think polio)(–the “freedom caucus” would choose to needlessly and recklessly endanger the lives of millions. They, of course, are taking their cues from–and following the lead of–the pestilence disguised as national political leadership (

    Let’s keep our wits about us, follow prudent guidance of public health officials based on the experience and evidence from the past 9 months and protect and enhance the lives of our loved ones and our communities.

  6. “Of the more than 11 million known COVID-19 cases in the U.S. thus far, nearly 250,000 people have died yielding a death rate of about 2.2 percent of detected infection cases…” — Econoclast

    According to the US COVID Dashboard in the past ten days of the big spike approximately 10,000 people had their deaths attributed to COVID (an attribution that could be 30% inflated) and approximately 1.5 million have tested positive (a stat without reason to dispute). That death rate is less than a third of the 2.2 % you cited, indicating that, despite the uptick in positive tests, the lethality of the disease appears to be on the wane. This may explain why the scoundrels locking us down aren’t following their own decrees.

  7. Judge ruled heir newsom overstepped his authority. Guys like him and liccardo are clowns. Saying wear a mask. We’ve been wearing a mask and the count rises. Idiots wear a mask and say it works as counts rise. Idiots. The sentimental party are a bunch of fools.

  8. It’s not just the deaths that we should worry about, that might not be the worst thing about this disease. There are suggestions that it takes months for some people to recover, if at all. There have been reports of people feeling odd many months after first infection, or recurring symptoms months later. There is evidence that the virus wreaks havoc on other organs, not just the lungs. We don’t know what the long term effects are. Yes, lethality is pretty bad, but sometimes there are worse things than death. If you are involved in a high-speed head-on car crash, you can sustain injuries that would make you wish you were dead.

    I’m not providing references, y’all can google them for yourselves. Sorry ’bout that.

  9. After 6 months of the Harris/Biden lock down regime, we may all admit that life in Comiefornia is worse than death!

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