California Healthy Places Index

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California Healthy Places Index

A Way to Keep California’s 58 Counties as Safe as Possible
During the COVID-19 Pandemic

How does California show levels of risk for COVID-19?

The Blueprint for a Safer Economy uses 4 colors to show our risk for COVID-19.
These colors are:

(Very high risk)


(High Risk)

(Medium Risk)

(Low Risk)

These colors or levels tell us what we can safely do in each level.

How does California decide the level for each county?

California looks at 3 things:

1. The rate of new COVID-19 cases
  • This tells public health officials the number of new COVID-19 cases per the number of people within a county.
  • It lets them know if the numbers of new cases are rising quickly or slowly.
2. The percent positive

  • This tells public health officials the percent of COVID-19 tests that come back positive.
  • It is based on people being tested for the first time, as well as on people who are being retested in a given area. 
  • It helps them to get an idea of how widespread the infection is in the country. It also helps them to decide if they need to do more testing to keep up with the levels of disease transmission.
  • A high percent positive means more testing should be done. It also means that it may be a good time to add restrictions to slow the spread of the disease. 
3. California (CA) Healthy Places Index

This is a way of providing a score for each neighborhood within a county

  • It is based on several things listed below.

What the CA Healthy Places Index based on?

The CA Healthy Places Index looks at 3 things, within each neighborhood in a larger county:

  1. The rate of new COVID-19 cases in a neighborhood
  2. The percent positive in a neighborhood
  3. The social makeup of a neighborhood, which includes the population’s race, ethnicity, income level, and access to healthcare

Based on those 3 things, it gives each neighborhood a score.

  • The higher the score the better. 
  • A low score means the neighborhood needs more help.
  • Sometimes the county’s score is higher. Neighborhood scores need to be close to the county's score before we can move to the next tier.
Why do we need the CA Healthy Places Index?
  • The Healthy Places Index shows the neighborhoods with more COVID-19 cases.
  • These neighborhoods will get extra help, like testing and education.
  • They will also get information about what to do if they or someone they know has COVID-19.