California’s blueprint for reopening has criteria for loosening and tightening restrictions on activities based on the level of spread of COVID-19.
On this page:
- Current tier assignments
- Beyond the Blueprint
- Reopening safely for all communities
- Questions and answers
Current tier assignments as of May 4, 2021
Every county in California is assigned to a tier based on its positivity rate, adjusted case rate, and health equity metric. Counties must remain in a tier for at least 3 weeks before moving to a less restrictive tier. Counties must meet the next tier’s criteria for two consecutive weeks to move to a less restrictive tier. If a county’s metrics worsen for two consecutive weeks, it will be assigned a more restrictive tier. Read more about tier assignment rules.
California has reached 4 million vaccination doses in the Vaccine Equity Benchmark. New Blueprint tier assignments were announced on April 6, 2021, with an effective date of April 7, 2021.
California’s county risk levels
All data and tier assignments are based on results from week ending April 24, 2021. See how tiers are assigned and changed, as well as county historical data (California Blueprint Data Chart), at CDPH’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy framework. Learn about regional ICU capacity at CDPH’s ICU Data.
Beyond the Blueprint
We have made significant progress against COVID-19. We’ve administered 20 million vaccines and case rates and hospitalizations have stabilized. As a result, California is preparing to move beyond the Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
On June 15, California will fully reopen its economy across the state if:
- There is enough vaccine supply for Californians 16 years and older to be vaccinated
- Hospitalizations rates remain stable and low, especially among fully vaccinated Californians
Common sense health measures, including wearing masks will continue. Testing and vaccination requirements will remain for some businesses and industries.
Learn more about moving beyond the Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
Reopening safely for all communities
COVID-19 has impacted some communities more than others. Adults 65 and older, people with pre-existing health conditions, Latinos, Blacks, Pacific Islanders, people who are low-income, and our essential worker community all face higher rates of infection and death.
Key indicators that determine reopening
|Adjusted case rate|
Daily new cases (per 100k)
|7-day average of daily COVID-19 cases per 100K with 7-day lag, adjusted for number of tests performed|
|Positivity rate||7-day average of all COVID-19 tests performed that are positive|
|Health equity metric (Positivity rate for HPI quartile 1)||7-day average of all COVID-19 tests performed that are positive for the lowest quartile, quartile 1, according to the Healthy Places Index|
|Vaccines administered||Number of vaccines doses administered statewide to people in the Health Places Index lowest quartile, quartile 1 (Vaccine Equity Metric)|
Health equity metric
Counties must address COVID-19 in all communities to open further, including making sure the positivity rate in certain neighborhoods (health equity metric) does not significantly lag behind overall county positivity rates. These efforts need cross-sector and broad partnerships to succeed. The health equity metric is only used to decide whether a county can move to a less restrictive tier. Learn more about this focus on equity.
Vaccine equity metric
Forty percent (40%) of COVID-19 cases and deaths occur in California’s lowest Healthy Places Index (HPI) quartile. The Healthy Places Index, developed by the Public Health Alliance of Southern California, helps us visualize community conditions such as low income, education completeness, and health care access. To end the pandemic, we’re setting aside forty percent (40%) of vaccines to distribute to people in HPI quartile 1. This approach will help lower the rate of community infection, hospitalization, and death. It will also help reduce potential new variants that might emerge. You can track the progress of vaccines administered to HPI quartiles on our vaccine dashboard.
When we met the Vaccine Equity Benchmarks of administering 2 million and 4 million to the hardest-hit communities statewide we expanded the Blueprint for a Safer Economy tiers to allow for somewhat higher case rates in the Substantial (red), Moderate (orange), and Minimal (yellow) tiers. Learn more about these changes in CDPH’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy framework.
How to move between risk levels
There are two measures to determine how counties move through tiers: case rates and test positivity. We’ve been tracking these measures through regular progression and accelerated progression. To move to a higher tier with regular progression, a county must meet the case rate and test positivity thresholds for that tier for two consecutive weeks. Accelerated progression requires that test positivity and health equity metric are especially low with a declining case rate to move to a less restrictive tier. Read comprehensive detail about how counties can move through tiers.
The positivity rate in the matrix above excludes people in state and federal prisons, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities, US Marshal detention facilities, and Department of State Hospitals facilities.
*Small counties (those with a population less than 106,000) may be subject to alternate case assessment measures for purposes of tier assignment.
**Health equity metric is not applied for small counties. The health equity metric is used to move to a less restrictive tier.
Questions and answers
The case rate, test positivity, and health equity metric thresholds must be met to move forward toward more reopening.
More than 10.0 daily new cases (per 100k)*
More than 8.0% positive test for entire county**
6.0 –10.0 daily new cases (per 100k)*
5.0 – 8.0% positive tests for entire county**
Less than 8.1% positive tests for health equity quartile**
2.0 –5.9 daily new cases (per 100k)*
2.0 – 4.9% positive tests for entire county**
Less than 2.0 daily new cases (per 100k*)
Less than 2.0% positive tests for entire county**
Less than 2.2% positive tests for health equity quartile**
If both the test positivity and health equity metric are especially low, and the case rate is declining but does not yet meet less restrictive tier’s level, a county can still move forward towards more reopening. See rules on accelerated progression.
Many non-essential indoor business operations are closed
Some non-essential indoor business operations are closed
Some indoor business operations are open with modifications
Most indoor business operations are open with modifications