More businesses in Contra Costa County have the green light to reopen

More businesses in Contra Costa County have the green light to reopen on Wednesday, even though the county remains in the state's "purple," and most restrictive, tier. 

Those include personal care services, like facials and waxing, which involve close contact with the face, can start operating outdoors.

That does not include tattoos, piercings, and non-medical electrolysis.

Race tracks and card-rooms can now re-open outdoors.

Music, television, and movie production can also resume.

And, professional sports can continue but without live audiences, although there are no major professional sports teams that regularly play in Contra Costa County. 

According to data most recently published by the health department, the county’s rate of tests returning positive over the last seven days — based on tests taken the previous week — is 4.1%. The average number of daily new cases in the county per 100,000 residents over the last seven days — based on the same time lag — is 6.8%.

The county can progress into the state’s next stage — the “red tier” — when data shows sustained improvement for two straight weeks.

Meanwhile, Contra Costa County health officials are warning anyone with flu symptoms to also be tested for the novel coronavirus, saying that it is possible for someone to suffer from both.

Dr. Chris Farnitano, the county's health officer, told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday that health officials are working to equip the county's COVID-19 test locations with vaccines -- and flu testing -- as flu season approaches.

Both Farnitano and Anna Roth, Contra Costa County's health director, said COVID-19 testing in the county has been going up -- more than 309,000 tests in the past 30 days, Roth said -- but that the rate of testing must increase further still.

As winter approaches, Roth said, plans are being made to move all testing sites indoors. And it appears, she and Farnitano said, that the coronavirus will be part of the Bay Area at least through the winter, if not longer.

While a new testing center is expected to open next week at the county's Bay Point Family Health Center on Pacifica Avenue in Bay Point, Roth said heat and smoke have prompted the closure of some of the county's outdoor testing sites on some days over the past few weeks.

That said, Roth added, on most days same-day COVID-19 testing is available in most parts of the county. 

Bay City News contributed to this report.