More businesses and community activities can reopen beginning today in Contra Costa after the county’s data indicators for COVID-19 transmission showed improvement in October.
California today reassigned Contra Costa to the less-restrictive orange tier of its Blueprint for a Safer Economy, allowing for larger local gatherings for indoor worship services and dining, and the reopening of indoor pools, bars and bowling alleys.
But health officials caution that it is now more important than ever to follow the state health guidance for physical distancing and use of face coverings, to keep everyone safe and healthy during the holiday season and to avoid a return to the red tier.
Contra Costa’s adjusted per-capita case rate – the average daily number of new COVID-19 cases identified in the county per 100,000 population – stood at 3.7 on Tuesday, just qualifying the county to move into the orange tier.
The average daily percentage of COVID-19 tests that return positive in the county is 1.9%, with 4.9% or lower qualifying for the orange tier. That number for census tracts identified by the state’s health equity metric was 3.9% today, with 5.2% required for the orange tier.
Counties in the orange tier can allow:
- Worship services and other cultural activities indoors at 50% occupancy or 200 people, whichever is fewer;
- Indoor dining at 50% occupancy or 200 people, whichever is fewer;
- Indoor swimming pools;
- Bars and other businesses that sell alcohol without meals to open for outdoor operation;
- Family entertainment centers to open indoors for “naturally distanced” activities, such as bowling alleys, escape rooms and climbing-wall gyms, at 25% occupancy;
- Cardrooms to open indoors at 25% occupancy;
- Small amusement parks to open at 25% of occupancy or 500 people, whichever is fewer;
- Professional sports venues to open at 20% occupancy;
- Live entertainment to open with no more than 50 people, if approved by the Health Officer.
The county will remain in the orange tier for at least two weeks. The state could move Contra Costa into the less-restrictive yellow tier, or the more restrictive red tier, if its metrics qualify for one of those tiers for two consecutive weeks. The state updates the official numbers every Tuesday.
To reduce the spread of the virus in Contra Costa County, and to continue its progress toward reopening, county leaders urge the public to get tested for COVID-19 regularly, including people who have no symptoms of illness.
Contra Costa would not have qualified for the orange tier this week had it not tested more residents than the state average. California adjusts the case rates of high-testing counties downward to reflect their work controlling the virus. Without that adjustment, Contra Costa’s per-capita case rate this week would have been 4.1, which would not qualify for the orange tier.
Following the heath guidance for physical distancing and face coverings, practicing good hand hygiene and staying home when you feel sick are also key to continuing Contra Costa’s progress against the pandemic.
About 3,500 people get tested every day for COVID-19 in Contra Costa. By ramping up to test at least 4,500 daily, the county can more quickly notify those infected – particularly people with the virus who do not have symptoms – to prevent outbreaks and better protect community members at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19 because of their age or health.
Contra Costa recommends that workers in jobs that bring them in frequent contact with the public, including all essential workers, consider a COVID-19 test every 30 days. Anyone who has symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing should also consider a test.
Call 1-844-421-0804 to schedule a fast, free COVID-19 test in Contra Costa, or visit cchealth.org/coronavirus to schedule online.