Alameda and Contra Costa are among five Bay Area counties to announce a new health order to take effect in the coming days, getting out ahead of the state's hospital ICU capacity-based plan to instead implement similar restrictions sooner on the local level.
The new restrictions on businesses, gatherings and other activities will be similar to those outlined by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday, which under the governor's plan would've been triggered Bay Area-wide once ICU capacity dips below 15%.
But health officers in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties and the city of Berkeley see that threshold -- and associated restrictions -- as "inevitable" in their jurisdictions, so they have opted to implement a localized state-at-home order sooner rather than wait until ICU capacity reaches that critical level.
Locally, the health order will take effect Sunday in Contra Costa County and on Monday in Alameda County. The restrictions are scheduled to remain in place until Jan. 4.
"Rising hospitalization rates across the region threaten not only our community members with severe COVID-19, but anyone who may need care because of a heart attack, stroke, accident, or other critical health need," Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss said in a statement. "By acting together now we will have the greatest impact on the surge and save more lives."
"We are seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations here in Contra Costa County and across our region," added Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Christopher Farnitano. "The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in our county has doubled in just the past couple of weeks, and we are at risk of exceeding our hospital capacity later this month if current trends continue."
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