Merced County logoMerced County is at risk of moving back to the more restrictive Purple (Widespread) Tier on the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. On October 6, 2020, Merced County progressed into the Red (Substantial) Tier which allowed several non-essential indoor businesses to resume operations with safety restrictions. To remain in this tier and continue to advance along the State’s reopening blueprint, the County’s COVID-19 metrics must remain stable or improve.

Within the last week, Merced County has experienced a higher case rate of COVID-19, and the number of people testing continues to decline. As a result, we are in jeopardy of not meeting the State’s metric to remain in the Red Tier. Reverting back to the Purple Tier means that some businesses and activities for county residents will become further restricted. This would include the closure of most indoor services that were recently authorized to reopen. Schools that have opened while the County is within the Red Tier can remain open; however, any schools that have not yet opened would no longer be able to open.

To help the County remain in the Red Tier, residents need to get tested for COVID-19. Increasing our COVID-19 testing rates is the main way to assist with lowering the overall case rate, thereby preventing the County from reverting back to the Purple Tier. The CDC and State Health Department recommends ongoing surveillance testing defined as being screened once every 14-day period to ensure that you are not ill. “We are asking all County residents to assist by getting tested every 14 days if possible. Increasing our county’s surveillance testing will allow us to stay on the path to reopening and move through the tiers more rapidly,” said Rodrigo Espinoza, Board Chair and District 1 representative for the Merced County Board of Supervisors.

“It would be disappointing for our County to move backward, when so much progress has been made to move forward into recovery. Everyone must do their part to help, get tested, and continue to follow safety measures,” said Dr. Salvador Sandoval, Merced County’s Public Health Officer.

Currently, the State of California is funding two Merced County testing sites; these sites are under threat of being defunded if their usage continues to decline at the current pace. COVID-19 testing is available to all Merced County residents, free of charge, at the following locations:

Testing Site Location Registration
OptumServ Site Merced County Fairgrounds
900 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.
Merced, CA 95341
LHI Care Website
Verily Site Los Banos Fairgrounds
403 F St.
Los Banos, CA 93635
Project Baseline Website

Merced County health officials strongly urge all residents to exercise the following safety measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
  • Practice social distancing
  • Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds
  • Use hand sanitizer with 60 percent alcohol base, when handwashing is not possible,
  • Stay home and isolate, if you’re are feeling sick

A complete list of industries authorized to reopen in Merced County can be found on the state’s COVID-19 Safer Economy page. All industry safety guidance can be found on the state’s COVID-19 Industry Guidance page. Further COVID-19 information is located on Merced County Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 resources page.