COVID-19 stay-home order to begin in Contra Costa County on Sunday

Omicron variant detected in Contra Costa County
Dr. Chris Farnitano, health officer for Contra Costa County, speaks at a news conference on March 23, 2020.

Contra Costa County is joining other Bay Area counties in implementing California’s new regional ‘stay home’ order effective Sunday at 10 p.m., even though the region hasn’t yet reached the ICU capacity threshold to trigger the order. The order will remain in effect for at least three weeks.

On Friday, public health officials for Contra Costa, Alameda, Marin, San Francisco, and Santa Clara and the City of Berkeley collectively said action is needed now to slow the rapid surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

“Although health officials throughout the Bay Area are glad to see the State take action in light of the rapidly escalating surge in hospitalizations statewide, many believe even more aggressive action is necessary in the Bay Area to slow the surge and prevent our local hospitals from being overwhelmed,” public health officials said.

Under the state’s new stay-home order, residents must stay at home as much as possible. Gatherings of any size are prohibited. Travel about town isallowed only for critical services such as shopping for groceries or visiting a doctor, but the new order allows outdoor activities to preserve physical and mental health. Playgrounds must close under the stay-home order, as well as hair salons and barbershops, personal care services, museums, movie theaters, and bars, among others. Both indoor and outdoor dining is prohibited, although takeout and delivery services is allowed. Indoor retail is allowed at 20 percent capacity.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the new regional stay-home order process on Thursday. The order kicks in when a “region” in the state (the state is divided up into five regions under the order) reaches the point where less than 15 percent of ICU beds are available.

The Bay Area region, which as of Thursday has 25.3 percent ICU bed capacity, is  projected to plummet to below 15 percent later this month.

San Francisco Health Officer Dr. Tomás Aragon added that many heavily-impacted parts of the Bay Area “already have less than 15 percent of ICU beds available, and the time to act is now.” 

“We are seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations here in Contra Costa County and across our region,” Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Christopher Farnitano said. “The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in our county has doubled in just the past couple of weeks, and we are at risk of exceeding our hospital capacity later this month if current trends continue.”

The sector closures and restrictions on activity under the State’s Regional Stay Home Order are described here