Stay at home order lifted, Contra Costa County returns to purple tier

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Contra Costa coronavirus cases 'not rising as fast as the worst case scenario'
Dr. Chris Farnitano, health officer for Contra Costa County, speaks at a news conference on March 23, 2020.

By Kathy Chouteau

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) officials ended the Regional Stay at Home Order today, which lifts the order for all regions statewide, including the Bay Area.

The Bay Area hit the threshold to exit the order when its four-week ICU capacity projections for the region rose above 15 percent, the threshold that permits it, per the department.

On a local level, Contra Costa County will be returning to the purple tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. That means restaurants may once again offer outdoor dining, and hair salons, barber shops and personal services, such as nail salons, may reopen provided that they follow state health guidelines.

Outdoor social gatherings of 25 or less people, from three or fewer different households, are also now permitted.

Health guidelines calling for continued physical distancing and use of face coverings when outside the home remain in effect, as do occupancy limitations for indoor businesses and requirements limiting close-contact gatherings of people from different households. People are also encouraged to get vaccinated when possible. More information on business and activity restrictions can be viewed on the state’s web page.

“Under no circumstances should anyone view the state action today as a reason to let down their guard. We have made progress, but we need to continue what we are doing to keep our families and communities safe,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, Contra Costa County health officer.

Local COVID-19 statistics remain sobering. Per capita, the adjusted average number of new infections reported daily in Contra Costa was 46.2 in the last week—which is almost seven times the threshold for a county to enter the purple tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, according to the Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS).

In addition, staffed ICU beds in Contra Costa County hospitals continue to be heavily used; as of Saturday, 137 of 163 beds were occupied, including both COVID-19 patients and patients with alternative health issues. All hospitals in the county remain on contingency care status, and most elective surgeries continue to be postponed, per CCHS.

Amid this latest health news, Contra Costa County has launched a drive to provide one million doses of COVID-19 vaccine by July 4. County residents older than 75 can schedule a vaccination appointment now by calling 1-833-829-2626 or using Contra Costa Heath Services (CCHS) online request form at cchealth.org/coronavirus. In the approaching weeks, the county anticipates extending vaccine eligibility to more people. More info is available for Contra Costa County residents at cchealth.org/coronavirus.

Since case rates remain high across California, the state’s Hospital Surge Order is staying in place to help prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. The Limited Stay at Home Order, which limits non-essential activities between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., expires with the ending of the Regional Stay At Home Order.

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