County of Marin - News Releases - Orange Tier

For Immediate Release
May 04, 2021

Marin Remains in Orange Tier in COVID-19 Blueprint

Bump in cases among unvaccinated prevents move to yellow tier

San Rafael, CA – The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has announced that Marin County will remain in the State of California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy orange Tier 3 status. The county had been on the cusp of graduating to the less-stringent yellow Tier 4, but case rates exceeded the allowable level to move forward.

The Marin County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was notified May 4 that the County would not advance from the “moderate risk” to the more open “minimal risk” tier. The adjusted rate needs to be below 2.0 per 100,000 residents to advance to the yellow tier, but Marin’s rate on May 3 was 2.5. The next possible opportunity for Marin to move into the yellow tier is May 18.

Marin has been in the orange tier since March 24 and has been on the threshold between the orange and yellow tiers for the past month. The case rate was less than 2.0 for most of the week of April 26 before rising.

Recent cases attributable to travel and social gatherings have impacted local cases rates, and the vast majority are among residents who are unvaccinated. In addition, the B.1.1.7 (UK) variant of the coronavirus is showing up more often in Bay Area, and it is more susceptible to spreading than the original strain of COVID-19.

“It’s disappointing not to move forward yet, but it’s important to remember that we take pandemic measures mainly to prevent serious illness and death,” said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin’s Public Health Officer. “Our community has done a lot to control COVID-19, and hospitalization and mortality are among the lowest they’ve been in a year. Staying in orange is a sign that despite all of our progress, we’re not there yet.”

Willis said more widespread vaccination is a goal the community should focus on. Marin County Public Health is seeing a correlation between new COVID-19 cases and lack of vaccination. Of the 324 cases that have been diagnosed over the past month, 87% are among people who have received no vaccine.

“The message is clear: Vaccination is the clearest path to safe reopening,” Willis said. “From the start of the pandemic, measures like wearing masks and maintaining distance have been critical to both personal and community health. We need keep that up, while we build immunity through vaccination.”

Marin is offering more walk-in vaccination locations this week than at any point in the pandemic. Learn more about vaccination options on the Marin HHS webpage.

Follow the latest COVID-19 surveillance figures in Marin County on the Marin HHS website. Register online to receive a daily COVID-19 update from Marin HHS.


Laine Hendricks
Public Information Officer
County Administrator's Office

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite #325
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-7496
Email: Laine Hendricks
County Administrator website