WALNUT CREEK (KPIX) — Three East Bay counties are currently seeing COVID case numbers that would put them back in the Purple Tier if California was still using that color-coded system.
Based on case data analysis by the Bay Area News Group, Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano counties would all be in the most restrictive tier from the Blueprint for a Safer Economy framework that state health officials used until the June 15th full reopening of California. That tier heavily restricted indoor activities and had many businesses operating at only 25% capacity inside if at all.READ MORE: VIDEO: Wind-Whipped Dixie Fire Ignites Homes In Greenville; Fire Crews 'Going Into Life Threat Mode'
Bay Area doctors say case numbers continue to rise due to more easily transmissible Delta variant.
Speaking to Contra Costa residents in Walnut Creek Thursday, everyone KPIX talked to said they hope the region doesn’t backslide into mandatory masking and business restrictions because of the latest surge in COVID cases.
“We just got back to normal. This is a big step backwards,” said Walnut Creek resident Megan David. “I’m not happy about that. All the businesses are finally getting up and running again and we get a little freedom.”
“I’m not afraid for myself, but I think I have a responsibility to try to prevent as much spread as possible since it’s here,” said fellow resident Tom Mills.
Area doctors say the direction that case rate move in will depend on how things play out over the next few weeks. If pressure mounts at area hospitals due to rising cases, the bay area could be forced to institute new restrictions, even with a majority of residents having been vaccinated.
Some are wondering when local health officials might take more drastic action. So far, most areas have simply made recommendations, such as the move by local health officials advising that all residents voluntarily wear masks when indoors in public spaces, regardless of vaccination status.
On Thursday, health officials from Contra Costa, Santa Clara and San Francisco counties urged businesses to implement mandatory COVID vaccination policies amid the rapid rise COVID cases fueled by the Delta variant.
The district of Assemblymember Buffy Wicks includes both Alameda and Contra Costa counties. She recently tweeted “It’s time to do something uncomfortable: make vaccinations mandatory” at schools, gyms, hospitals and workplaces.
While Governor Gavin Newsom has acknowledged the rising number of cases during the latest surge, he has most urged all residents who have not gotten the COVID vaccine to get vaccinated so the state’s population is better protected against the Delta variant.READ MORE: PG&E Stock Dip Impacting Fortunes of Past Wildfire Victims
We’re experiencing a pandemic of the unvaccinated.
The vaccine is free.
The vaccine can save your life.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) July 22, 2021
Statewide, there were 5,577 newly reported confirmed cases Wednesday. The 7-day positivity rate for California is 4.9%.
California health officials noted in their latest release that cases are largely increasing among unvaccinated populations. For the second week of July, the average case rate among unvaccinated Californians was 13 per 100,000, while the average case rate among vaccinated residents was significantly lower at just two per 100,000.
Between January 1 and July 14, 99% of the state’s cumulative cases have occurred among unvaccinated individuals.
Concerns over rising cases are leading more Bay Area restaurants and bars to require proof of vaccination just to get in the door.MORE NEWS: COVID: Case Surge From Delta Variant Leading to Health Care Worker Fatigue
In Oakland, Eli’s Mile High Club and the restaurant Palmetto have instituted proof of vaccination requirements. In San Francisco, the Latin American Club in the Mission District, SoMa drag club SF Oasis and Vesuvio Cafe in North Beach are all requiring proof of full COVID vaccination to enter.