Outdoor dining allowed again; hair salons, barber shops can reopen.
State and local stats don’t match.
“The state has changed how they are calculating,” – Scott Alonso, Contra Costa Health Services spokesman
Contra Costa County is urging residents and businesses to continue practicing health safety measures and avoiding risky activities after California lifted its regional stay-at-home order today in the Bay Area. The state lifted the order Monday morning, effective immediately.
Some significant changes resulting from Contra Costa’s return to the purple tier include:
- Restaurants may offer outdoor dining, following the state health guidelines.
- Hair salons, barber shops and personal services such as nail salons may reopen following state health guidelines.
- Outdoor social gatherings involving 25 or fewer people, from three or fewer different households, are now permitted.
- For the full list of what businesses and venues are allowed to be open as of Monday, Jan 25. click here.
- More information available at org/coronavirus
The state order helped the region meet the deadly surge in COVID-19 infections following the winter holiday season. But per capita, the adjusted average number of new infections reported every day in Contra Costa was 46.2 in the last week – nearly seven times the threshold for a county to enter the purple tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
“Our county continues to experience a winter surge in COVID-19 transmission,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, Contra Costa County health office. “While we are making progress in vaccinating our most vulnerable residents, we are still weeks or months away from seeing the effects of immunization in our community.”
The purpose of the state’s regional stay-at-home order was to slow COVID-19 transmission to protect the intensive care unit (ICU) bed capacity of hospitals and healthcare systems from overwhelming medical surge.
Staffed ICU beds in Contra Costa hospitals continue to see heavy use, with 137 of 163 beds occupied on Saturday, including both COVID-19 patients and patients with other major health problems put the county at almost 16%, over the 15% state required threshold. All hospitals in the county remain on contingency care status, and most elective surgeries continue to be postponed.
However, on Saturday the Contra Costa Health Services’ COVID-19 website showed ICU bed capacity in the county at only 1.2% and 2.0% Bay Area-wide. On Monday the CCHS website shows the availability of ICU beds in Contra Costa is 4.0% and 3.7% in the Bay Area, far below the 23% the state is now claiming. Asked why that was, Scott Alonso, a spokesman for CCHS responded, “The state has changed how they are calculating. We are awaiting further information from CDPH and will update the CCHS website once ready and able when we hear from them.”
Health guidelines regarding physical distancing and use of face coverings outside the home remain in effect, as do occupancy caps for indoor businesses and requirements limiting close-contact gatherings of people from different households. Check the state’s web page for industry-specific guidance.
“Under no circumstances should anyone view the state action today as a reason to let down their guard. We have made progress, but we need to continue what we are doing to keep our families and communities safe,” Farnitano said. “It is just common sense.”
Contra Costa has kicked off a countywide drive to provide 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine by July 4. County residents who are older than 75 can now get a vaccination appointment by calling 1-833-829-2626 or using Contra Costa Heath Services (CCHS) online request form at cchealth.org/coronavirus. The county expects to extend vaccine eligibility to more people in coming weeks.
Please check back later for any updates to this report.
Allen Payton contributed to this report.