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Contra Costa, Sonoma Counties Move From Purple To Red Tier

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- State health officials Friday elevated both Contra Costa and Sonoma counties to the Red Tier, allowing restaurants, gyms and retail establishments to open or expand indoors operations beginning on Sunday.

The announcement means the entire 10-county Bay Area region has emerged from the state's most restrictive Purple Tier.

Eleven other counties in the state were also elevated to the Red Tier including Los Angeles, Mendocino, Mono, Orange, Placer, San Benito and San Bernardino.

At the same time, officials also announced the state has reached its goal of delivering 2 million vaccine doses to California's hardest hit communities.

"While we have reached a milestone today, we still have a lot of work ahead of us to help ensure we can put an end to this pandemic," said Tomás Aragón, CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer. "We must all do our part by getting vaccinated as soon as it's our turn and continue to wear masks and practice physical distancing to keep our communities safe."

For counties in the Red Tier, indoor restaurant dining rooms and movie theaters can reopen at 25% capacity or up to 100 people, whichever is fewer. Gyms and dance and yoga studios can open at 10% capacity. Museums, zoos and aquariums can open indoor activities at 25% capacity.

Prep sports can also can finally get underway and schools can reopen under the state restrictions.

"It is encouraging to see our data moving in the right direction, and it's a testament to the hard work Contra Costa residents have put in to slow the spread of COVID-19," said Dr. Chris Farnitano, Contra Costa County health officer.

Farnitano said the overall case rate per 100,000 people has dropped to 8.1% -- from 10.4% the previous week -- which is still over the state-mandated 7%. But Contra Costa's test positivity rate has dropped from 3.4% to 2.9% and the county's equity metric in the hardest-hit regions has dropped from more than 16% in mid-January to 4.8%.

He said the county will receive a "significant" increase in vaccines over the coming weeks. More than 27% of Contra Costa residents -- about 370,000 people -- have received at least their first dose.

Sonoma County officials also welcomed the news.

"The move to the red tier is the most hopeful news that our community has received in a long time," said Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, Chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. "But now is not the time to let up. We need to continue to be smart and safe. That means wearing our masks, avoiding large gatherings and, most of all, getting tested. Getting tested is one of the best tools we have at our disposal to control the spread of the virus and to reopen our economy."

Officials said that 28 percent of Sonoma County's eligible (16 years and older) residents have now received at least one dose of vaccine while nearly 12 percent have been fully vaccinated.

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