Contra Costa County sees sharp rise in positive COVID-19 tests, certain indoor gatherings temporarily banned

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. (Photo by: IMAGE POINT FR - LPN/BSIP/Universal Images Group via Get

Contra Costa County reports a sharp rise in positive results from COVID-19 testing, an indication that the coronavirus is spreading at an elevated pace.

As of Saturday, more than 8 percent of Contra Costa County COVID-19 tests conducted in the past seven days are returning positive.

As a result of the increased positivity rates, a new health order takes effect at 11:59 p.m. Sunday. It temporarily tightens requirements around face masks, and prohibits certain indoor gatherings.

On June 8, the average number of new cases rose by 38. On July 8, the number of positive test results rose to 146.

The number of hospitalized patients rose from 17 to 54 during the same time period.

The new health order includes the following:

  • Indoor worship services temporarily prohibited. Services held earlier on Sunday, July 12, are not subjected to this.
  • Certain types of outdoor gatherings, including worship services and social protests, are permitted at any size in Contra Costa so long as state health guidelines are followed, including physical distancing and appropriate use of face coverings.
  • Outdoor dining now requires staff and customers to observe face covering requirements at all times, except when putting food or drink in the mouth.
  • Guidance for businesses serving alcohol with meals increases.
  • Gatherings, or "social bubbles" are now required to wear face coverings when together at all times, unless eating or drinking.

Given the rapid spread of local cases, Contra Costa Health Services is concerned that the number of patients needing intensive care could quickly exceed capacity.

Protect yourself from COVID-19. Wash your hands, cover your face, maintain social distancing and stay home if you don't feel well.