Timeline for July and August now contains qualifier
Friday, June 26, 2020 – Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) is evaluating whether the county should continue its current reopening timeline, due to recent data showing COVID-19 activity is increasing in the community. The timeline for the reopening of businesses and activities scheduled for July 1st and 15th, as well as the school reopening scheduled for July and August include an asterisk and the following qualifier: “In light of rapidly increasing case numbers and hospitilizations, anticipated re-opening dates may need to be postponed. Our community’s actions are more important than ever to stop the spread.”
CCHS is closely monitoring key data indicators that show how the virus is spreading in the county and will announce a decision about the timeline Monday.
During the past seven days, the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals in the county has increased 42%.
The seven-day average number of newly identified COVID-19 cases has increased from 39 a day to 68 a day. The positivity rate of test results – the percentage of COVID-19 tests that came back positive – has also increased. This suggests the change is not simply due to more testing, but indicates a true increase in community spread.
We are also seeing a shift with more young people testing positive. In June, 55% of cases were 40 years and under compared to 38% for that group in April. It’s a sign that younger people are playing a major role in driving the increase in new cases and potentially infecting vulnerable individuals. This highlights why it’s important for everyone to avoid social gatherings, observe physical distancing and wear masks or face coverings when around others.
CCHS encourages all residents to get tested. Increased testing for COVID-19 is a critical part of the community effort to slow local spread of the virus, and necessary to continue reopening in the future.
Contra Costa’s data are consistent with increases in COVID-19 activity now being experienced in communities across the state and the nation. To view the Contra Costa Health Services Coronavirus Dashboard for more statistics, click here.
There is concern that these increases may lead to a surge in very ill people that could overwhelm the local healthcare system. We realize many people are eager to resume normal activities. However, if we adjust the reopening timeline, it will be because we have a chance to prevent the pandemic from getting out of control in the county.
Any change to the timeline would immediately affect businesses and activities that are currently scheduled to resume July 1, including indoor dining, bars, gyms, hotels and some personal care services, including nail salons and tattoo parlors.
CCHS is releasing this information today to provide businesses and residents as much time as possible to prepare for a potential change to the timeline.
With the Fourth of July weekend approaching, CCHS also reminds everyone that it’s a healthy choice to observe physical distancing when outside the home – maintain six feet of space whenever possible – and to wear face coverings. Anyone who feels sick should stay home. People should also wash their hands frequently.
Allen Payton contributed to this report.