Sonoma and Contra Costa counties are the only two Bay Area counties still stuck at purple, which is the most restrictive tier of California's coronavirus risk assessment system. The categories dictate the level of limitations imposed on businesses and activities. The other seven counties have all moved up a level, to the red tier.
Health officials in Contra Costa anticipate the county will move into the red tier next week, if case numbers and test positivity rates remain steady.
The move would mean the resumption of indoor dining and the opening of movie theaters, gyms and museums, subject to attendance occupancy limitations.
Sonoma County, however, may have to wait. To loosen restrictions, counties need to meet the red tier criteria for two weeks straight. Counties must log fewer than seven coronavirus cases per 100,000 people daily, and a test positivity rate below 8% both generally and specifically in disadvantaged neighborhoods.
While Sonoma County meets two out of three of the criteria, its case rate is still too high, at 8.2.
“Hang in there, we are so close,” the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported county Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase telling county residents.
Counties lagging in the measures the state has used to graduate areas to a less restrictive level may see some relief when the state hits 2 million vaccines administered to people in designated disadvantaged communities. That could happen as soon as this week.
At that point, the case threshold for moving out of the purple tier will be 10 new daily cases per 100,000 residents, up from the current seven.