Alameda County at risk of sliding back into most-restrictive purple tier

Alameda County announced on Thursday that it could be demoted to the strictest tier on the state's reopening plan as COVID-19 cases in the county and Bay Area region as a whole steadily rise. 

Alameda County has been in the less restrictive orange tier of the state's reopening blueprint since mid-October, but that could be short-lived. 

Currently, the county's daily COVID-19 case count per 100,000 people has risen from 3.4 to 4.9. Health officials anticipate the county could bypass the red tier and move back into the most-restrictive purple tier.

Local health leaders have decided to pause all future reopenings until the county can get a handle on its surge in cases, especially with the holidays around the corner. 

The holiday season could put residents at higher risk for COVID-19 transmission with families traveling and gathering together. That coupled with the flu season could exhaust Alameda County's health care system, health officials said. 

“We must exercise caution and prepare to move quickly to protect our residents and hospitals from rising cases of COVID-19,” said Dr. Nicholas Moss, Alameda County Health Officer.“We continue to closely monitor the situation. If necessary, we will restrict activities that are higher risk for spreading COVID, including those in which people gather indoors without masks."

The state health department has not yet said if and when Alameda County could move back into a more restrictive tier.