COVID-19: Contra Costa County returns to the red tier as cases climb

The+requirements+for+California%27s+tier+system+that+describes+COVID+risk.

Blueprint for a Safer Economy

Contra Costa County recently advanced to the orange tier. The requirements to get this label are listed above

Sneha Cheenath and Daniela Wise

On Friday Nov. 13, more restrictive social distancing measures were put into place as Contra Costa County moved back into the red tier, shifting the county from a “moderate” COVID risk spread to a “substantial” risk spread.

The Tribune reported on Oct. 30 that as of Oct. 27, the county moved into the less restrictive orange tier, so many businesses were allowed to open at limited capacity. Soon after, the San Ramon Patch reported an increase in cases. 

On Friday’s “Mayor’s Breakfast” event, Candace Andersen, a supervisor from the county, explained that to be in the orange tier, the county had to have less than 4 cases per 100,000 people. Contra Costa now has 7.2 cases per 100,000 people. Since the county is doing more testing, the state lowered this statistic to 6.2 cases per 100,000 people. Anderson also notes that our test positivity rate is about the same. 

Andersen explained that what is “really significant” is the number of hospitalizations. On Nov. 13, it was reported that there were 50 people from the county hospitalized with COVID as of Monday. This number has doubled in the past two weeks. 

More importantly, per the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, “schools can reopen for in-person instruction once their county has been in the Substantial (red) tier for two weeks.” Should case count increase and Contra Costa reverts to the purple tier, schools “aren’t permitted to reopen for in-person instruction, unless they receive a waiver from their local health department for grades TK-6. However, they may provide supervision of children in accordance with the cohorts guidance.”

 She assures residents that compared to other parts of the country, the county is not doing too badly; “it’s hopeful…but it’s concerning.” Anderson also predicted that the county will soon move back into the purple tier, which would have many businesses such as indoor gyms close. 

Over the past 14 days, San Ramon had 72 cases per 100,000 people. 

Anderson’s call to action was in-line with the messaging from the county health department as a whole: “you’ve got to wear a mask, you’ve got to stay at home if you’re not feeling well, you need to keep distance from individuals and really try hard to not be gathering in close areas, particularly indoors.” 

Such expectations continue into the holiday season. According to CNBC, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned of the risks associated with Thanksgiving celebrations this year, especially if people are traveling to see family they don’t live with.” White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, emphasized on Oct. 14 that “his kids won’t be coming home for Thanksgiving this year due to fear of possibly spreading the coronavirus,” urging Americans to think about keeping others safe especially when the community spread it rampant. 

To schedule a fast and free test in Contra Costa County, call 1-844-421-0804 or visit  cchealth.org/coronavirus to schedule online.

To get more information, you can go to the county’s press releases. Subscribe to the City of San Ramon’s newsletter or check the COVID-19 page of their website for updates.