OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Following suit with other parts of the Bay Area, Alameda and Contra Costa County health officials on Monday announced they were returning to the Purple Tier due to the increase in local COVID-19 cases.

“Due to very rapid and widespread increases in COVID-19 cases, the California
Department of Public Health has modified its Blueprint for a Safer Economy to allow for a faster, more nimble response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” a press release issued by the county read. “Like other Bay Area counties, the Alameda County COVID-19 case rate continues to increase daily and hospitalizations are also on the rise.”

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“The return to the Purple Tier of California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy comes with some additional requirements for businesses and community activities not imposed in Contra Costa since summer,” East Bay health officials added in the Contra Costa County release on the new changes..

Alameda and Contra Costa counties were placed in the most restrictive Purple Tier along with 40 other counties, officials said. Governor Gavin Newsom had announced the return of a majority of the state’s 58 counties to the widespread Purple Tier designation during a press conference earlier Monday.

Alameda County officials had warned last week that Alameda County, while still registering in the Orange Tier at the time, was likely to be moved to a more restrictive tier this week due to the spike in COVID cases.

Alameda County health officials announced the following changes for all residents and businesses:

  • Effective at 12:01 a.m. on November 18, all activities and sectors must conform to the State’s requirements for counties in the Purple Tier.
  • Per the State’s requirements, any activity that was only permitted in the Red or Orange Tier will need to close, effective November 18. A list is available on the California Department of Public Health website.
  • Alameda County will provide additional guidance to local restaurants in the coming days on how to continue operating outdoors safely as the weather changes. Current guidance is available here.
  • Any school that currently has students attending classes in person may continue to do so. Effective November 18, no additional schools may open for in-person instruction. Alameda County will not be offering a waiver process for elementary schools.
  • As the situation develops, we may need to further restrict activities to slow the spread of the virus.
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“We need Alameda County residents and businesses to, once again, rise to the challenge and help flatten the curve,” said Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss. “Stay home for the holidays, wear face masks, maintain at least 6 feet of distance, wash your hands frequently, and get your flu shot. Now more than ever, we must protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our neighbors with these simple strategies. We all must recommit ourselves to the safety measures that helped us lower case rates in September and October.”

More information on Alameda County’s COVID-19 response can be found on the county website.

Contra Costa County health officials noted that the adjusted average daily number of new COVID-19 cases in the counties has doubled in the past month, surging from 4.3 per 100,000 population on Oct. 16 to 9.2 on Nov. 16.

Previously in the Red Tier, Contra Costa health officials last week enacted local health orders that added additional safety requirements beyond what was mandated by the state, including a moratorium on indoor dining and operation of indoor gyms and fitness centers.

Changes caused by the state’s action Monday in Contra Costa will include:

  • Social gatherings involving people from different households are permitted outdoors only, with a maximum of three households and 25 people, preferably for less than two hours.
  • K-12 schools may not reopen for in-person instruction unless they have already begun to do so.
  • Worship services and cultural ceremonies must now be held outdoors only.
  • Higher education institutions must move indoor lectures and student gatherings outdoors only.
  • Movie theaters may operate outdoors only.
  • Museums and exhibit spaces may open outdoors only.
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Additional information on Contra Costa County’s COVID-19 health information is available at cchealth.org/coronavirus.