Bay Area Counties Hope to Soon Reach Red Tier as Virus Data Improves

NBC Universal, Inc.

While Gov. Gavin Newsom is not expected to announce any Bay Area counties moving out of the purple tier, new data shows hopeful signs of reopening on the horizon.

Positivity rates are improving, but case rates are well above the required threshold of 7 cases per 100,000 residents. Here's a breakdown of case rates in the four largest Bay Area counties as of Monday:

  • Alameda County: 23.1 (cases per 100,000 residents)
  • Contra Costa County: 21.5
  • Santa Clara County: 21.5
  • San Francisco: 12.5

All four counties have positivity rates below 6%, well below the required threshold for that criterium.

For schools to reopen, the case rate must fall below 25 per 100,000, and that has many school districts preparing to return to in-person classes.

Schools in Contra Costa County may soon reopen, despite the county still being in the purple tier -- the most restrictive.

“I’m just happy we are moving in the right direction,” said Supervisor Candace Anderson, who checks in with the health department daily. Her number one concern is when the county can move out of the purple tier and into the red. 

“In order for us to move into the red tier we have to have seven cases or less per 100,000,” said Anderson. 

On Monday, that number was just over 21 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. But the county must pass two other tests before the purple tier can disappear.

“For every test you take, what percent comes back positive and that needs to be 8% or lower,” said Anderson.

Right now, 5.8% of the tests are coming back positive. But there’s one more threshold that needs to be met.

“When you look at equity percentile disadvantaged communities that’s at 8.5 that needs to come to 8% before we move into the red tier,” said Anderson.

So if that’s not confusing enough, being in the purple tier has nothing to do with opening schools. Contra Costa County elementary schools are preparing for in-person learning because the county has had fewer than 25 positive cases per 100,000.

“We’ve worked with our staff and community and we are scheduled to open with our preschools to second graders this Wednesday and our third to six graders the following Wednesday,” said San Ramon Valley Unified Superintendent John Malloy.

As schools start to reopen, restaurants continue with outdoor dining and takeout.

“It can be frustrating, people are going to be able to go back to school and we’re just here we’re happy to be where we are, we’re still making progress,” said Sofia Martie of Locanda Ravello Restaurant.

Contact Us