Coronavirus testing at San Diego State University. Courtesy f the university

Los Angeles and Orange counties appear headed for the red tier in the weekly California COVID-19 infection rankings released Tuesday, but San Diego likely has another two weeks to go.

San Diego County had an adjusted case rate of 8.8 per 100,000 population for the week ended Feb. 27, just above the threshold of 7.0 for remaining in the purple tier.

In Los Angeles and Orange counties, where coronavirus cases peaked earlier than in San Diego, the rates were 5.2 and 6.0, respectively. If those counties maintain the low rates for another week, they’ll drop into the red tier.

Like San Diego, Riverside County will likely be in the purple tier for another two weeks, with a case rate of 8.3 per 100,000 people in the latest report.

Moving out of a tier requires two full weeks at a lower case rate. The California Department of Public Health assesses counties on a weekly basis and schedules updates for Tuesdays.

However, there’s a chance that San Diego County could move into the red tier next week due to an increase in statewide vaccinations. Next Tuesday, the threshold for purple is expected to move up to 10.0 cases per 100,000 people. San Diego is already below that, and there’s a possibility the state will retroactively classify this week’s number as red tier.

In the red tier, schools can reopen for indoor instruction, and restaurants, movie theaters and gyms can resume indoor operation at limited capacity.

Updated at 2:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 9, 2021

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.