With COVID-19 cases falling in Curry County, the county will drop from the extreme risk tier to moderate risk beginning Friday.
Curry County Public Health Administrator Sherrie Ward made the announcement Tuesday after the governor’s updated county risk assessments were released. Curry County is the only county in the state to drop in tiers this week. There are currently 26 counties in extreme risk, two in high risk, two in moderate risk and six in low risk.
Ward said in the week running from Jan. 5 to Jan. 11, 17 new COVID cases were confirmed in Curry County. Fourteen cases were from south Curry County with three from central Curry County. Most were linked to close contact with previously reported cases.
Since the beginning of the pandemic in March, there have been 313 total COVID cases in Curry County with three COVID-linked deaths. Ward reported there were 38 active cases countywide.
With the reduction from extreme risk to moderate risk, COVID restrictions will be eased countywide beginning Friday.
In the moderate risk category, indoor gatherings at home are limited to eight people from two households. Indoor dining at restaurants will be allowed with a maximum capacity of 50 percent or 100 people, whichever is smaller. At restaurants, there will be a maximum of six people per table indoors and eight people outdoors. All restaurants must close by 11 p.m.
Indoor entertainment establishments such as movie theaters, museums and concert halls can open with a maximum capacity of 50 percent of 100 people. Retail stores can open with a maximum capacity of 75 percent. Malls can also open at 75 percent capacity.
Churches can have 50 percent capacity with a maximum of 150 people while indoor gyms can open with 50 percent capacity.
The move to the moderate tier ensures loosened restrictions for at least two weeks. Any change in the tier status will be linked to the number of positive COVID cases and the percentage of positive tests in the community.
Ward urged all residents to continue to practice COVID safety, especially wearing masks, maintaining six feet between yourself and others, washing hands frequently and staying home if you are sick.