As of November 1st, Contra Costa County is making new changes due to declines in cases and hospitalizations
By Kamryn Sobel
With reports of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations on the decline in Contra Costa County, the mask mandate will be changing as of November 1st in certain indoor instances. Those who are fully vaccinated and are in eligible settings will be able to safely remove their masks without concern for others around them. Places where this mandate will be lifted include “controlled spaces not open to the general public, including offices, gyms and fitness centers, employee commuter vehicles, indoor college classes and organized gatherings in any other indoor setting, such as a religious gathering,” according to the Press Release from the county.
Coinciding with this, employees, customers, etc., are to give proof of vaccination before being allowed to enter the building without facial coverings with a 100 person limit to that building at a time and these persons must gather frequently. Those present must also not have any COVID-19 symptoms. In settings that are open to the general public, such as bars, restaurants, and K-12 schooling institutions, masks will still be required. With a high of 227 hospitalizations in the peak of summer, the county has reported 69 cases at the time of the Press Release given on October 14th causing the change of the mandate. As seen in other counties, such as Marin and San Francisco County, they have made similar decisions after the decline in cases and hospitalizations in their given jurisdictions.
As of October 27th, Contra Costa County is at a 72.7% vaccination rate with 1,197 active COVID-19 cases giving a -13.7% decrease over the past two weeks. Similar reports to help decline the virus and make for new changes in regards to health restrictions, many residents in the Contra Costa County “who received Johnson & Johnson or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines can now get booster doses – of any vaccine they prefer – to better protect themselves and their families this holiday season.” Once 80% of the county is vaccinated, places like bars and restaurants will be able to follow the new mask mandate.
In response to the new health order by the county, Saint Mary’s states, “While we are encouraged by the declining case rate, regardless of the county’s decision, Saint Mary’s requires that you continue to wear your mask indoors on campus in public spaces throughout the term.” Saint Mary’s is also encouraging flu shots in order to keep the community and family members safe. These shots are provided by the Health and Wellness Center for $30 or at neighboring stores such as CVS and Rite Aid as well as healthcare providers. In the past 14 days, Saint Mary’s has also reported four new COVID-19 cases, with 34 cumulative cases over the fall semester. In terms of vaccination rates of the school community, staff are at 95%, faculty are at 98%, undergraduate students account for 97%, and graduate students are 96.3% vaccinated.
For more updates and information on or regarding COVID-19, visit the Contra Costa Health Services website. For COVID-19 information and updates relating to Saint Mary’s, visit the COVID-19 News & Resources found on the Saint Mary’s website.
Ryan Ford '23,