Contra Costa County is one of the many now seeing a surge in coronavirus cases. The spike comes even as the county prepares to open what some see as high-risk businesses, including gyms, nail salons and bars, next week.
A state public health report shows 75 people were infected at San Miguel Villa nursing home and 15 have died, one worker and 14 patients.
It is unknown when the deaths occurred but health officials say most of the county’s recent deaths have happened at long-term care facilities.
At the same time, the highest number of new cases seems to be coming from younger residents and all of it as the county continues to reopen.
“Maybe they should wait a tiny bit more,” said Contra Costa County resident Taylos Danzi. “I hear COVID is coming back hard.”
In a week, gyms, nail salons and bars will have the green light to reopen. All will be required to have strict precautions in place to lower risk, but as cases surge, some residents are questioning if the county is ready.
“Our cases are increasing. Our hospitalizations are increasing. Our deaths are increasing, and our testing positivity rate is increasing,” said Anna Roth, Contra Costa County health services director.
She told county supervisors new infections are on the rise among 20 to 50 year olds and more older people are dying.
Of the 62 COVID-19 deaths in the county, two-thirds are people who were 80 or older, and the vast majority lived in skilled nursing centers like San Miguel Villa.
Despite the surge, some say the county needs to stick to the timeline and allow the next wave of openings on July 1.
“I mean I do feel bad for the people that did get sick,” said Contra Costa resident Ken Cable. “What are you going to do? Hide every time the virus comes back out?”
Cable says he questions the numbers despite health officials saying they're real and cannot simply be explained by an increase in testing.
“When we first started testing, about 2% were coming back positive, and we’re now at 3.5%,” said Roth.
Health officials all agree face coverings, social distancing and limited time around others are still the best options.
Along with one more critical request, if you think you could have been exposed, get tested even if you're not showing signs of the virus.