The Bay Area Counties Suffer as COVID-19 Cases Surge

5 mins read

Officials have placed most of the Bay Area under stricter coronavirus lockdown protocols this week after a sudden surge of positive cases, California Governor Gavin Newsom revealed on Monday.

28 Counties Moved to the Purple Tier

Newsom said that up to 28 counties would be moved into the purple tier, the most restrictive reopening tier, on Tuesday. The governor said the move was part of the state pulling an “emergency brake” in its reopening plans amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Additionally, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo Counties are all being moved into the second-highest restriction, the red tier, due to the number of infections.

The California governor said the state had seen its fastest increase of infections over the last ten days since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. During his Monday briefing, Newsom said the virus attacked anyone, increasing case rates and positivity rates across the region.

The only counties that did not move in tier were Sonoma and Monterey counties because they were already placed in the purple tier beforehand. Newsom said, “We are seeing community spread broadly.”

Previously, counties were placed into tiers after two weeks of assessment of the threat of the coronavirus. However, officials changed that re-assignment to only cover one week after seeing a massive surge of infections.

Future Tier Evaluations Look Grim

The state would also move counties through several tiers if the area’s rate of infection becomes high enough. Public health officials were also told to assess tiers multiple times every week instead of every Tuesday, the NBC Bay Area reported.

Today, officials placed Santa Clara County into the purple tier along with 40 other counties, accounting for 94% of the state’s entire population. The county’s health officer, Dr. Sara Cody, said they had experienced this situation before. She noted they are aware of the sudden uptick of positive cases and that the speed of the spread causes more concern than the number of infections.

What does purple tier mean?

The purple tier bans residents from conducting most business activities that they experienced during the county’s time at the orange tier. Officials are heavily restricting the majority of indoor retail activities and limiting capacities. Restaurants would be forced only to provide takeout or outdoor dining services, and schools will not be allowed to reopen.

Previously, however, Santa Clara County chose to implement more restrictive guidelines than the state decided. County officials banned some personal service businesses, including barbershops and hair salons, from providing indoor services to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, Biz Journals reported.

San Francisco Hit Hard

In San Francisco, the deteriorating public safety image showed just how much the region’s health conditions have fallen. The dangers of the coronavirus pandemic forced officials to further restrict counties that were already suffering through the recession.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed and Public Health Director Grant Colfax said during an online news conference that residents should avoid travel and social gatherings in the coming holiday season. The officials noted the moving of the city into the red tier of restrictions, indicating a substantial spread of the virus.

Three weeks ago, several infectious disease experts applauded San Francisco for maintaining a relatively low coronavirus case number. The feat was made even more surprising due to the fact that the city is the second densest city in the country, just behind New York.

Breed said that despite the massive accomplishments the city has made with its careful reopening plans and expansive coronavirus testing, the threat of the virus was still present. The San Francisco mayor urged residents to be aware and to follow safety protocols to avoid more cases from popping up.

Colfax noted the sudden spike of cases in the city reflected the worsening coronavirus situation across the nation. And despite the relatively lower infection rate of San Francisco compared to the national average, there is no guarantee it could maintain the low numbers, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Danielle Joyce Ong

Danielle is a local journalist with a passion for exploring stories related to crime and politics. When Danielle isn't busy writing or reading, she is usually exploring the great outdoors and all the hiking trails in the Bay.