Reopening plans delayed due to ‘unprecedented’ COVID-19 surge in California

Alameda County joins 40 other counties now under most restrictive state criteria for reopening

Alameda County is at risk of “widespread” COVID-19 cases and will go retighten local restrictions following a recent announcement  by Governor Gavin Newsom. The State will require 41 counties, including Alameda, to restrict activities.

“We are sounding the alarm,” said Governor Newsom. “California is experiencing the fastest increase in cases we have seen yet –faster than what we experienced at the outset of the pandemic or even this summer. The spread of COVID-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes.”

Widespread COVID-19 risk in Alameda County

Starting Wednesday the State will require Alameda County to enter the most restrictive tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. The Purple Tier means a county is a “widespread” risk and requires many non-essential indoor business operations to close. 

Alameda County has 25,872 cases to date, according to the Alameda County COVID-19 dashboard.  Oakland has the most coronavirus cases in the County, 9,761. Since the pandemic, 490 people have died.

Alameda County had been in the Orange Tier with an adjusted rate of 3.8 cases per day. Many indoor businesses like fitness gyms reopened recently. However, with the third wave nationwide and local rates rising, the state is requiring activities permitted in the Red and Orange tiers to close. 

According to the state, Alameda County’s new COVID-19 rate is 9.1. More than 7 cases per 100,000 is enough for the state to assign a County to the Purple Tier. 

The Rise, Fall, and Rise of COVID-19 in Alameda County

As we reported last week, Alameda County has been on a roller coaster ride with COVID-19. Although the Bay Area was the first to adopt shelter-in-place, cases steadily climbed as the County increased its testing capacity. To date, over 851,861 people have been tested in Alameda County. 

Oakland Voices first reported how East Oakland residents felt the brunt of COVID-19. Alameda County saw increased hospitalizations in the late summer months and cases peaking in August before declining through September and October. As Alameda County moved to the Red Tier and then Orange, many restaurants began offering outdoor dining, parks and zoos reopened, and some schools restarted in-person instruction.

Cases have risen all this month. Health officials discourage in-person gatherings outside of individual households and continued mask wearing and 6-foot physical distancing. 

“We need Alameda County residents and businesses to, once again, rise to the challenge and help flatten the curve,” Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss said in a statement.

About Rasheed Shabazz

Rasheed Shabazz is a multimedia storyteller, urban planning historian, and youth development professional based in the Bay Area. He coordinates Oakland Voices and is currently in the Masters of City and Regional Planning program at UC Berkeley.  View all posts by Rasheed Shabazz →

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