A sharp increase in COVID-19 cases across the nation and California has Gov. Gavin Newsom rolling back reopening plans statewide, prompting Contra Costa County to be set back to the most restrictive “purple” tier in the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
The move adds further restrictions beyond what was already anticipated last week, when a moratorium on indoor dining and indoor fitness centers in Contra Costa was imposed effective Tuesday, Nov. 17.
The governor’s action Monday will mean additional restrictions are effective Tuesday in Contra Costa County.
Worship services, cultural ceremonies, museums and movie theaters must return to operating outdoors only, and K-12 schools may not reopen for in-person instruction unless they have already begun to do so. Non-essential offices must work remotely within the purple tier, and cardrooms can only operate outdoors. Indoor retail can operate at 25 percent capacity.
Personal care services and hair salons can remain open indoors with modifications. Outdoor playgrounds can also remain open with modifications.
Monday’s order from the governor and public health officials require 28 counties to fall back to the purple, or “widespread,” tier of California’s color-coded system. In total, 41 counties are in the purple tier, which is the most restrictive of the four tiers. Nine California counties, including San Mateo and San Francisco counties, are returning to the lesser-restrictive red, or “substantial” tier. In total 11 counties are in the red tier, four are in the orange, or “moderate” tier (Sierra, Lassen, Calavares and Inyo) and two counties (Mariposa and Alpine) are in the yellow, or “minimal” tier.
Before last week, Contra Costa County had been in the orange tier since Oct. 27. On Tuesday, the county announced it was moving back to the red tier on Friday, Nov. 13. When Friday came around, the county announced additional restrictions with the moratorium on indoor dining and indoor gyms.
Today, California also strengthened its face covering guidance “to require individuals to wear a mask whenever outside their home, with limited exceptions,” the governor’s office said.
The adjusted average daily number of new COVID-19 cases in Contra Costa has doubled in recent weeks, rising from 4.3 per 100,000 population on Oct. 16 to 9.2 on Nov. 16, the county said.
The average daily percentage of COVID-19 tests that return positive in Contra Costa has also increased sharply, from 1.9 percent on Oct. 16 to 3.6 percent on Nov. 16.
“Health officials are also closely monitoring the number of people hospitalized in Contra Costa because of COVID-19, as a large surge in patients could overwhelm the local healthcare system,” officials said. “There were 21 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Contra Costa on Oct. 16, compared to 48 on Nov. 16.”
Daily cases in California have doubled, according to the governor’s office.
“California is experiencing the fastest increase in cases we have seen yet –faster than what we experienced at the outset of the pandemic or even this summer,” Gov. Newsom said. “The spread of COVID-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes.”
For Contra Costa data and COVID-19 health information, visit cchealth.org/coronavirus.