Contra Costa may slow reopening plan due to COVID-19 case spike

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Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) is set to announce Monday whether it will change its current reopening timeline following a recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

“Any change to the timeline would immediately affect businesses and activities that are currently scheduled to resume July 1, including indoor dining, bars, gyms, hotels and some personal care services, including nail salons and tattoo parlors,” according to CCHS.

During the past seven days, the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals in the county has increased by 42 percent, CCHS said. As of Friday at 11:30 a.m., 39 patients were hospitalized for COVID-19 in Contra Costa, the data showed. Seventy-three people in the county have died from COVID-19, of whom 46 were over age 81. The seven-day average number of newly identified COVID-19 cases has increased from 39 a day to 68 a day, the county added. The percentage of COVID-19 tests coming back positive has also increased, suggesting the change “is not simply due to more testing, but indicates a true increase in community spread,” according to CCHS.

Current reopening timeline. The July 1 reopening schedule could be impacted by a recent increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, per Contra Costa Health Services.

Also, more young people are testing positive, with 55 percent of cases being 40 years and under in June versus 38 percent for that group in April.

“It’s a sign that younger people are playing a major role in driving the increase in new cases and potentially infecting vulnerable individuals,” according to CCHS.

The case spike is consistent with COVID-19 increases in communities across the state and the nation. Health officials worry that a surge in very ill people could overwhelm the local healthcare system. In response, they are evaluating whether to slow the timeline for easing restrictions on businesses and activities in order to slow the spread of the virus.

“CCHS encourages all residents to get tested Increased testing for COVID-19 is a critical part of the community effort to slow local spread of the virus, and necessary to continue reopening in the future.”