July 1 reopenings postponed in Contra Costa County

Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) will delay the opening of businesses and activities previously planned for July 1 until the COVID-19 outbreak in Contra Costa is better contained.

Before today, the official Contra Costa timeline for reopening had the following on the schedule for July 1:

  • Personal services not involving the face (massage, nail salons, tattoo, body waxing, etc.)
  • Indoor dining
  • Bars (with or without food)
  • Gyms, fitness centers & personal training
  • Limited indoor leisure (arcades, billiards, bowling alleys, etc.)
  • Indoor museums
  • Hotels (for tourism & individual travel

The county is closely monitoring recent data showing COVID-19 activity increasing in the community, as it is statewide and throughout the country.

Changing course

On Sunday, Gov. Gavin Newsom recommended that Contra Costa County, along with several other counties in the state, not reopen bars. The county’s timeline had previously cleared bars, personal services not involving close contact with the face, indoor dining, gyms and fitness centers, limited indoor leisure activities and museums, and hotels for tourism and individual travel to reopen July 1.

With the sharp rise in community spread and hospitalizations, it does not make sense at this time to open additional business sectors that could further accelerate community transmission. These businesses and activities will remain closed in Contra Costa until county data indicate that the spread of the virus has slowed, as measured by at least a week of stable case numbers, hospitalizations and percent of tests that are positive. Trends will be monitored and evaluated daily.

The seven-day average number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals in the county has increased by 75% from June 15 to June 29.

The seven-day average number of newly identified COVID-19 cases has increased from 38 a day to 87 a day. The percentage of COVID-19 tests that came back positive has also increased from 4% to 6%. This suggests the change is not simply due to more testing, but a true increase in community spread.

More young people testing positive

We are also seeing a shift with more young people testing positive. In June, 55 percent of people testing positive in Contra Costa were 40 years and younger, compared to 38 percent 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.

Many people who carry and spread the virus have no symptoms themselves. That is why it’s important for everyone to avoid social gatherings, observe physical distancing and wear masks or face coverings when around others.

Widespread testing is necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19 so we can safely reopen the economy. Testing is the only way to find out if you are carrying the virus and interrupt its spread. People can spread the virus without knowing they are sick.

While Contra Costa have seen an increase in the numbers of people being tested over the past several weeks, we highly encourage everyone who lives and works in the county to get tested, even if they have no symptoms.

This morning, CCHS opened its eighth community COVID-19 testing site at Kennedy High School in Richmond. To make an appointment for a fast, convenient, no-cost test at any site in Contra Costa, call 1-844-421-0804 or visit cchealth.org/coronavirus – online scheduling available at most sites.

Karen Mitchoff is Contra Costa County District IV supervisor. Email questions or comments to Mitchoff at supervisormitchoff@bos.cccounty.us