CONTRA COSTA COUNTY (BCN) – Despite COVID-19 case numbers creeping back up in some areas of the country as the holidays approach, Contra Costa County continues to make steady progress, health officials told the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

But county health services director Anna Roth added a cautionary note.

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“We have seen that progress slow in the last few days and we are starting to see some stabilization and even just a little rise in our hospital numbers,” Roth said. “Again, though, I want to talk about the progress.

“We’re seeing lots of the progress we’re having because so many of our residents are choosing to get vaccinated, both for the first time and with booster doses.”

Roth said more than 500 county residents per day are getting their first dose, and 53 percent of eligible seniors have received their booster. Since becoming eligible earlier this month, 26 percent of eligible Contra Costa children ages 5 to 11 have received their first dose.

Overall case rates are down as well.

“Cases per 100,000 are at 6.7, compared to a month ago they were 8.8, so we’ve had a 24 percent decrease,” Roth said. “One month ago, we had 53 people in the hospital with COVID; today we have 33. So we’ve seen a decrease — only 8 of those people are in the (intensive care unit). And those kinds of numbers are comparable to last spring, which was before the Delta surge.”

Roth said the county has administered more than 95,000 doses of vaccine over the past 15 days, 23,000 of which to children ages 5-11.

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“Overall, we’ve administered more than 1.9 million doses here in Contra Costa County,” Roth said, adding “our equity team has been working very hard to close” the vaccination gap. As of this week, 75 percent of the county’s Latinx population had at least their first dose, about the same rate as White residents. African-American rates still lag, at 66.6 percent.

“So we still have some work to do,” Roth said. “Our equity team is still very much out in the field and working diligently.”

Deputy health officer Dr. Sofe Mekuria told the board the county is steadily approaching state-mandated goals to lift indoor masking requirements, one of which is having 80 percent of eligible people fully vaccinated. The county is currently at 74.2 percent, with 80.6 percent having at least one dose.

“If all 74,000 people who are now partially vaccinated get their follow up doses in the next few weeks, we’d easily meet the goal of our 80 percent of individuals fully vaccinated to lift the indoor masking order,” Mekuria said.

The county also must be in the yellow tier of state guidelines for three consecutive weeks to lift the order. The county has been fluctuating between yellow and the more restrictive orange level.

“The best way to keep our momentum is to avoid a holiday surge and protect yourself, and the best way to do that for every eligible resident to get vaccinated right away,” Mekuria said. “Or get their boosters. In California people are 6.5 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than fully vaccinated individuals.”

For more information on where to get vaccinated and other COVID-19 related information, people can go to http://www.CCHealth.org.

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