Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Daily hospitalizations due to COVID-19 and the percentage of COVID-19 tests returning positive remained steady or fell slightly in Contra Costa County during early August, reflecting recent local progress in slowing the spread of a deadly virus.
These key data indicators for the pandemic remain at dangerously high levels in Contra Costa, which remains on the California Department of Public Health’s county monitoring list, but are not currently increasing as they did in June and July.
Given the improvement, Contra Costa County today makes small changes to its social distancing health order to allow certain business sectors to begin operating again outdoors. The changes align Contra Costa’s policy with recently updated state health guidelines:
- Personal care services that do not involve close contact with the face, such as nail salons and massage, may begin operating outdoors in accordance with the state-issued industry guidelines and checklist.
- Gyms and fitness centers may begin operating outdoors in accordance with their own state guidelines and checklist.
- Hotels and short-term rentals in the county may open for personal or recreational travel, not just for essential business purposes.
These updates to the health order are effective Friday, August 28. Hair salons and barbers have already been permitted to perform limited work outdoors in the county, with no reported outbreaks.
Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) does encourage businesses to adjust reopening plans because of poor air quality in the county from Northern California wildfires. The county has issued a health advisory about smoke, encouraging all residents to stay inside when possible with doors and windows shut. For air quality updates and forecasts, visit the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
While recent issues at the state level skewed local testing data in late July and early August, Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) has confidence in data related to hospitalization and number of new positive cases because they are directly reported to the county by local health providers and clinics.
“Based on what we are able to see, we can be cautiously optimistic that there is a gradual downward trend in county cases, testing positivity rates and hospitalizations,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, county health officer. “We need everyone to understand this is a reason to keep up what we are doing and not let down our guards.”
The seven-day rolling average number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Contra Costa dropped slightly, from 103 on Aug. 5 to 96 on Aug. 24. The average percentage of tests administered in the county that come back positive, meanwhile, has fallen from 8.8% on Aug. 6 to 7.4% on Aug. 24.
Previous health orders remain in effect. Contra Costa Health Services urges residents to continue wearing face coverings when they go out or are near people outside their households, observe physical distancing, stay home from work or school when they do not feel well and wash their hands thoroughly and often.
Details of the update, including the full text of the order, are available at cchealth.org/coronavirus.