Contra Costa County pauses COVID-19 reopening

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Contra Costa County public health officials announced Monday they are delaying the reopening of businesses and activities that were set to resume on July 1 due a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Previously, the county was set to ease restrictions on July 1 to allow bars, nail salons, indoor dining, fitness centers, hotels and museums to open, along with limited indoor leisure activities. But “with the sharp rise in community spread and hospitalizations, it does not make sense at this time to open additional business sectors that could further accelerate community transmission,” according to a statement Monday by Contra Costa Health Services.

“These businesses and activities will remain closed in Contra Costa until county data indicate that the spread of the virus has slowed, as measured by at least a week of stable case numbers, hospitalizations and percent of tests that are positive,” the county said. “Trends will be monitored and evaluated daily.”

COVID-19 case spikes are happening statewide, and on Sunday Gov. Gavin Newsom recommended that Contra Costa and several other counties not reopen bars.

COVID-19 DATA: Click here for up-to-date data from the Contra Costa Health Services

From June 15 to June 29, the seven-day average number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals in the county increased by 75 percent, and the seven-day average number of newly identified cases rose from 38 to 87 per day, according to the county. The percentage of COVID-19 tests that came back positive increased from 4 percent to 6 percent, suggesting the change is not solely due to more testing, but due to an increase in community spread, county officials said.

Young people are playing a role in driving the spike. In June, the county saw a 55 percent increase in people younger than 40 years old testing positive, compared to 38 percent for that group in April, officials said.

“Many people who carry and spread the virus have no symptoms themselves. That is why it’s important for everyone to avoid social gatherings, observe physical distancing and wear masks or face coverings when around others,” according to the county.