OC health officials recommend Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, other theme parks reopen

Orange County Health officials have reportedly recommended that the state allow Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm to reopen once the county moves into the less restrictive orange tier.
Orange County Health officials have reportedly recommended that the state allow Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm to reopen once the county moves into the less restrictive orange tier.

Health officials have worked closely with Disney to prepare for the park's reopening, according to the Orange County Register.

Supervisor Doug Chaffee encouraged Dr. Clayton Chau, the director of the county Health Care Agency and the county's chief health officer, to "keep pushing'' on the reopening of theme parks in the region.

RELATED: Gov. Newsom delays releasing theme park reopening guidelines amid criticism from industry leaders
EMBED More News Videos

Reopening guidelines for theme parks in California were supposed to be released, but Gov. Gavin Newsom delayed revealing new operating rules amid criticism from industry leaders.

Theme parks have been closed since mid-March as they await reopening guidelines from Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, the president of the California State Association of Counties, said she serves on a "kitchen cabinet'' committee of the organization that is lobbying the state to let theme parks move into the orange tier category instead of being lumped in with mass gatherings like live concerts and sporting events in the yellow tier. Chau said he is the only county health officer who has made that recommendation to the state.

Bartlett said the yellow tier would reflect when a county has "eradicated Covid,'' so it would be unfair to restrict theme parks to that status before reopening.

"Disneylands have opened across the world and have not seen any spikes in Covid,'' Bartlett said.' And they have significant health and safety protocols... We are collectively pushing, pushing, pushing to have that done sooner rather than later.''

Orange County could move into the orange tier within the next few weeks.

RELATED: When will Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm reopen? Anaheim officials expect guidelines soon
EMBED More News Videos

Anaheim officials are expecting guidelines from the state soon that will provide a path for reopening theme parks like Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm.

To qualify for the orange tier, the positivity rate must be 2% to 4%, and the case rate per 100,000 must be 1% to 3.9%.

Moving to the orange tier means retail businesses could operate at full capacity, instead of 50% as required in the red tier. Shopping malls could also operate at full capacity, but with closed common areas and reduced food courts, just as in the red tier.

According to HCA data, 905,296 COVID-19 tests have been conducted, including 5,286 reported Tuesday. There have been 49,141 documented recoveries.

Officials said Tuesday two more people succumbed to COVID-19, raising the death toll to 1,289, and 138 new diagnoses.

The cumulative case count since the pandemic began stands at 54,898.

RELATED: 'We will not open until Disney does': Worries among Anaheim business owners heightened by Disney layoffs
EMBED More News Videos

Closed stores throughout Anaheim have been clear indicators of the devastating impact on the local economy during the ongoing closure of the Disneyland Resort because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The positivity rate, which is reported each Tuesday, inched up from 3.1% last week to 3.2%, but the daily case rate per 100,000 people rose from 4.4 to 5.2, which is higher than the cutoff of 3.9 to qualify for a move from the red to the orange tier in the state's coronavirus monitoring system.

According to the HCA, hospitalizations increased from 168 Monday to 176 Tuesday, with the number of patients in intensive care up from 53 to 63. The change in three-day average hospitalized patients increased from -7.1% to 4.5%.

The county has 35% of its intensive care unit beds and 70% of its ventilators available.

City News Service contributed to this report

The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of ABC7
Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.