More California counties pushed back into more restrictive virus tiers

As California coronavirus infections climb to nearly 1 million cases and the positivity rates continue to inch higher, 11 counties were told by the state to move into more restrictive tiers, meaning they'll have to readjust their business plans, worship services and school reopenings. 

Closest to the Bay Area, Contra Costa County and Santa Cruz County were moved from the "moderate" orange tier to the more restrictive and "substantial" red tier on Tuesday. Last week, Contra Costa County had anticipated this because of the "marked increase" in cases and health officials had foreseen tightening up business restrictions. 

Elsewhere, Siskiyou, Trinity and Modoc counties went from yellow to orange; Placer, El Dorado and Amador counties went from orange to red; and Sacramento, Stanislaus and San Diego counties went from red to purple.

Most of the Bay Area remained in the orange tier, the third least-restrictive tier of the four designated by the state.

San Francisco is the only Bay Area county in the yellow tier, the least restrictive one. And while The City's status remained the same, Mayor London Breed announced some preemptive measures on Tuesday, including the elimination of indoor dining, reduced capacity at gyms and movie theaters, and a pause on the additional reopening of high schools.

Sonoma County is the only Bay Area county to be in the purple tier, the most restrictive one.  

The state updates every Tuesday its 58 counties’ progress on a four-tier, color-coded system for reopening. The lower the cases and positivity rate, the fewer restrictions there are for businesses and certain activities in that county.

This weekly tier announcement came one day after Gov. Gavin Newsom said that California’s coronavirus cases are at their highest levels in months, an “obviously sobering” data point that led San Francisco Bay Area health officials to urge people who travel outside the region to quarantine for two weeks upon return.

Over the weekend, the California Department of Public Health announced 964,639 confirmed cases to date, with 7,682 newly recorded confirmed cases Saturday. There have been 17,963 COVID-19 deaths in California since the start of the pandemic. The hospitalization rate has increased by nearly 30% in the last several weeks.  These are the highest numbers in weeks, Newsom said.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, the case numbers generally are better than other heavily populated areas in the state and local health officials largely have tended to be more aggressive in their restrictions. Last March, the region was the first in the country to impose a stay-home order.

California hasn’t seen the even more dramatic surges other states are experiencing but new figures are troubling.

Newsom said some of the increase could be tied to Halloween celebrations while the health director for Los Angeles County urged people who gathered during the weekend to celebrate Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential race to quarantine to avoid fueling the spread.

Bay Area COVID-19 developments

As of Tuesday, at 5:30 p.m., officials have confirmed the 
following number of cases around the greater Bay Area region: 

Alameda County: 25,110 cases, 474 deaths (25,001 cases, 475 deaths on Monday) (Totals include Berkeley Health Department data.) (Death count revised by county)

Contra Costa County: 20,268 cases, 253 deaths (20,166 cases, 253 deaths on Monday)

Marin County: 7,284 cases, 127 deaths (7,270 cases, 127 deaths on Monday) (Totals include San Quentin State Prison)

Monterey County: 12,463 cases, 102 deaths (12,366 cases, 101 
deaths on Monday)

Napa County: 2,331 cases, 17 deaths (2,299 cases, 16 deaths on 

San Francisco County: 13,139 cases, 151 deaths (13,081 cases, 151 deaths on Monday)

San Mateo County: 12,049 cases, 165 deaths (11,937 cases, 162 
deaths on Monday)

Santa Clara County: 26,972 cases, 436 deaths (26,747 cases, 433 
deaths on Monday)

Santa Cruz County: 3,227 cases, 26 deaths (3,221 cases, 26 deaths on Monday)

Solano County: 8,430 cases, 79 deaths (8,366 cases, 79 deaths on Monday)

Sonoma County: 10,424 cases, 146 deaths (10,325 cases, 146 deaths on Monday)

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was written in Oakland, Calif.