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This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. (NIAID/TNS)

Tuolumne County had one new case of coronavirus on Wednesday, down from three reported the previous day.

The case brought the county’s total since counting began in March to 186, which included 12 that remained active, one that was hospitalized, 172 that had recovered, and two deaths as of Wednesday afternoon.

It will take at least three weeks before the county has a chance to be moved down from the moderate (orange) to the minimal (yellow) risk-level category, under California’s new monitoring system that went into effect on Monday.

Tuolumne was one of 12 counties that were miscategorized when the state unveiled the new system on Friday, which mistakenly labeled Tuolumne as one of only three that were at the minimal risk level.

Placements are based on the daily average of new cases over seven days per 100,000 people, as well as the testing positive rate.

The county can only have a maximum of three new cases per week and a testing positivity rate of below 2 percent in order to qualify for the minimal tier, which would allow certain businesses including bars to operate indoors.

Several bars in downtown Sonora remained open Tuesday night despite the error in the county’s placement being announced Monday afternoon.

Counties must meet the criteria for a lower tier for three consecutive weeks to be moved down, but they can be bumped to a higher tier if the numbers worsen for two consecutive weeks.

The county Public Health Department said it was working to update its data dashboard to help the public better keep track of where the county stands under the new system, which has been dubbed the Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

The department also warned some people have been receiving scam calls that say they’re being contacted because of being exposed to COVID-19 and then asked to share their financial, health insurance or Social Security information.

“Please know that our team will never ask for this information if we call about a possible COVID-19 exposure,” the department stated. “Do not provide those personal details to anyone, and if you aren’t sure someone is who they say they are, ask for their name and a phone number to call them back.”

Contact Alex MacLean at amaclean@uniondemocrat.net or (209) 768-5175.

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