CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA — Contra Costa County residents who are displaying symptoms of or have tested positive for the new coronavirus must now isolate for 10 days, up from 7 days.
The change comes after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines after learning more about how long COVID-19 patients can pass along the virus to others, county Health Officer Chris Farnitano said in a news release.
The county now considers the infectious period for asymptomatic COVID-19 patients to start 48 hours before their test. County public health workers will look for close contacts within that 48-hour time frame, according to the release.
"We're learning more and more about the virus every day," Farnitano said in the news release. "Based on our latest understanding, we want people with COVID to remain isolated a little bit longer in order to reduce the chance of infecting others."
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People who test positive for the new coronavirus must notify people who they've been in close contact with — defined as someone who's been within six feet of the patient for at least 15 minutes.
Contra Costa County has hired 75 contact tracing investigators since the outbreak began and the state has recently given the county $800,000 to hire more investigators. The county started out with 14 disease investigators, according to the release.
Having the capacity to perform widespread contact tracing in Contra Costa County is among the indicators, or requirements, that the county must meet to show the state that it can start to reopen public life.
Counties must also be able to prove: their hospitals can handle surges of COVID-19 patients; the number of cases remained flat or decreased; a sufficient number of tests are conducted each day; all health care workers have a 30-day supply of personal protective equipment.
Read more about those indicators here.
As of Thursday, 1,089 people in Contra Costa County tested positive for the coronavirus. More than 900 have recovered, 17 are hospitalized and 33 have died.