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Guest Column: Return to ‘Purple Tier’ is unsustainable and subjective

A map of Sacramento County shows case numbers by zip code as of Nov. 14, with darker shades indicating more cases. // Source: SCPH

By Supervisor Sue Frost–
In the midst of rising COVID cases statewide, on Nov. 13, Sacramento County was officially demoted to “purple tier” status, the state’s most restrictive level. These restrictions include, among other things, the closure of indoor operations for gyms, fitness centers, and restaurants.

This move by the state will have a devastating impact on local businesses already shutting down at a heartbreaking rate. It ignores what science is telling us.

If something doesn’t change in the immediate future, these businesses are going to be going into the winter months being forced to only be open outdoors. It will be incredibly difficult for businesses to convince customers to eat dinner outside in the cold when they could eat indoors a few miles away in Roseville.

Our public health department already knows what is causing our increase in COVID cases: private gatherings and outbreaks in some long-term care facilities. It is not a major problem at the businesses that are being forced to close operations and where safety measures, such as social distancing, have been successfully implemented. Shutting them down when they are not significantly contributing to the problem is unnecessarily harmful.

Our public health department also already knows that well-over half of the COVID cases are coming from the City of Sacramento, even though they represent only about one-third of the county population.

Citrus Heights has 5.7% of the county population, and only 4.1% of the cases. Citrus Heights shares a border with Roseville, and shares more in common with them than Citrus Heights shares with Sacramento City.

Our state policies should allow us to take things like this into consideration. Yet, California remains ignorantly adhered to flawed policies that hurt our community, even when given a clear pathway to do things more efficiently and safely.

COVID-19: Frost joins leaders in calling for business reopenings by zip code

You may have seen it in the news, but in early October, I signed onto a letter along with several other local and State leaders, that was written to Governor Newsom and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly. In this letter, we requested that the State allow Counties like Sacramento to reopen communities by zip code where COVID metrics meet the State’s requirements for progressing to the next color-coded tier.

As of writing this article, that letter has not even been responded to, let alone considered.

A balanced zip-code approach isn’t some bogus theory that lacks a scientific basis. A zip-code based approach is precisely what is being utilized in America’s most populous city, New York.

They use a targeted approach to address clusters of COVID cases by targeting the most affected zip-code hot spots. Doing so allows them to allocate important medical resources to the targeted communities that are most in need.

This approach also ensures that communities not experiencing an increase in positivity are not negatively impacted by restrictions that are not necessary.

I am going to keep fighting to put pressure on the state to allow us to consider more sensible policies locally in Sacramento County, and I won’t stop until this pandemic is over.

Sue Frost, supervisor
Sue Frost

Sacramento County Supervisor Sue Frost formerly served as a Citrus Heights councilwoman and currently represents District 4, which includes Citrus Heights.  She can be contacted at (916) 874-5491, or

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