CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA — Contra Costa County will return Tuesday into the most-restrictive tier of California's COVID-19 risk system.
Contra Costa was previously in the red "substantial risk" tier of California's four-tiered color-coded COVID-19 risk system. But as Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed Monday the need to pull "an emergency brake" amid a sharp spike in COVID-19 cases, Contra Costa and nearly 30 other counties were moved back into the purple tier, which indicates widespread risk.
“We are sounding the alarm,” Newsom said Monday in a news release. “California is experiencing the fastest increase in cases we have seen yet –faster than what we experienced at the outset of the pandemic or even this summer. The spread of COVID-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes."
Contra Costa is now seeing about 11.4 new COVID-19 cases per day, per 100,000 residents, according to state data. The purple tier standard is 7 cases per day, per 100,000 residents. Case rate data lags by a week.
The county's COVID-19 testing positivity rate, however, is 3.7% — below the purple tier standard of 8%.
Counties may enact stricter restrictions, but here's what the state allows under the purple tier, with safety modifications:
Outdoor gatherings only; up to three households
Outdoor dining only
Outdoor playgrounds/recreational facilities
Indoor hair salons/barbershops
Indoor retail; 25% capacity
Outdoor gyms/fitness centers
Outdoor worship services
Indoor shopping malls; 25% capacity, closed common areas and food courts
Indoor personal care services
Outdoor movie theaters
Outdoor museums, zoos, aquariums
Bars, breweries and distilleries that do not sell food must remain closed. People who work in offices should instead work remotely, according to state guidelines.
See the full state guidelines for each tier here.
County public health officials have called on residents to stay home when sick, wear masks, maintain six feet from others not in your household, frequently wash hands, get a flu shot and review guidelines on Thanksgiving and holiday travel.
Last week, the state issued a travel advisory. All visitors to California and Californians returning to their home state are asked to quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival in the Golden State. The advisory only applies to recreational travelers, not those who are traveling for work, medical, study or other essential purposes.
Public health officials expect cases to continue to climb as the weather cools and holidays loom.
"We're moving from a marathon to a sprint," Newsom said.
There have been 21,458 COVID-19 cases reported in Contra Costa County as of Monday afternoon, county data show. There have been 253 deaths linked to the coronavirus.
Here's the COVID-19 case count by community:
Bay Point: 1,061
Bethel Island: 14
Discovery Bay: 174
El Cerrito: 167
El Sobrante: 361
Pleasant Hill: 351
San Pablo: 1,822
San Ramon: 537
Walnut Creek: 768
Other or unspecified: 207
Get more detailed information on the county's COVID-19 statistics here.