All nine Bay Area counties are on California's COVID-19 watch list

As of Wednesday, all nine Bay Area counties are on California's coronavirus monitoring list. 

After escaping the watch list for weeks, San Mateo County was the last Bay Area region to join the growing list. County officials knew it was coming as they warned last week that COVID-19 infection rates were rising. “Something no one aspires to," said San Mateo county supervisor David Canepa.  "Being on this list and if we’re on this list forever, could potentially cripple our economy." 

Overall, 5,306 residents have tested positive for the virus, according to the county's COVID-19 data dashboard. So far, 118 people have died. Redwood City appears to have the most cases in the county, followed by the City of San Mateo. A release from the county manager's office says the county's case rate, based on a 14-day rolling average, is 110.4 positive cases per 100,000 of popuulation.  The state’s threshold for inclusion on the monitoring list is a case rate of 100.

Counties that land on the state's monitoring list for three consecutive days must impose new restrictions. Indoor facilities such as dine-in restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, places of worship, and bowling alleys must close. 

Supervisor Canepa believes the state needs to find a balance between shutting everyrhing down and opening without restriction.  He said he's sad his county has gotten to this point. Next week, he's proposing an ordinance to allow county staff to issue administrative fines to people and businesses for skirting mask orders and social distancing guidelines. “Some people aren’t taking the virus seriously enough," said Canepa. "And if they’re not going to take it seriously enough, we’re going to have to take these actions.”

Thirty-seven of 58 counties are on the list, making up more than 93% of the California's population. 

The state marked its deadliest day since the coronavirus pandemic began.  New numbers from the California department of public health show 197 coronavirus-related deaths on Tuesday, bringing the two week average to 109 deaths a day. "The cases that we saw rise earlier in the month, that also did have a number of people who had severe disease that led to death, we have to take this seriously," said Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, the chair of UCSF's department of epidemiology and biostatistics. 

Though the statewide averages show the positivity rate and hospitalizations stabilizing from a major surge, the daily death toll has risen dramatically this month.  Dr. Bibbins-Domingo says the averages don't tell the full story of hot spots including the Central Valley and other pockets. “Even if it’s not in our area of our state that these high rates of infection are occurring, that we all have to pay attention to it, in order to get it under control."