Plans to reopen more activities in Alameda County have been temporarily put on hold, following recent increases in COVID-19 cases across the Bay Area and state, public health officials announced Thursday.
"Alameda County is currently in the orange tier per the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, but we anticipate moving into a more restrictive tier soon," officials from Alameda County Public Health Department said in a statement. "For this reason, we will not open additional activities and will likely need to close higher risk activities shortly. Earlier action will help us flatten the curve."
Officials said the county's "cautious approach" and "measured pace" compared with other counties in California has moved it "quickly through the state's framework and avoid reclosing activities."
But day-over-day increases in the number of new COVID cases have been reported in recent weeks, as well as steady increases in hospitalizations. The county's new daily COVID case rate per 100,000 has been recalculated from 3.4 to 4.9, prompting ACPHD to caution the public about what lies ahead.
"We expect to move back into the red tier soon and, if current trends continue, Alameda County will move all the way back into the purple tier," officials said.
With the holidays coming up, ACPHD is "also concerned by the alarming increase in cases we see in states across the country at a time when families may want to travel and gather," and warned "the next several weeks could place us at high risk for even more COVID-19 transmission with the upcoming holidays and more people gathering indoors as the weather changes."
Flu season is also around the corner, and ACPHD said flu cases "will be a greater burden on our healthcare system this year given the similarities in symptoms between flu and COVID-19."
Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss said, "We must exercise caution and prepare to move quickly to protect our residents and hospitals from rising cases of COVID-19. We continue to closely monitor the situation. If necessary, we will restrict activities that are higher risk for spreading COVID, including those in which people gather indoors without masks.”
Officials told the public that "now is not the time to let down our guard," and reminded everyone to continue wearing face coverings whenever they leave home, wash their hands, and stay at least six feet away from people outside their household. Getting a flu shot and following health officials' advice on holiday travel and gatherings is also recommended.