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COVID: In-Person Classes Not Responsible for Rising Case Numbers in Contra Costa

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY (CBS SF) -- In parts of Eastern Contra Costa County, schools have now been open for a few weeks, and COVID cases are emerging there. But despite those numbers, there is some encouraging news for parents. Schools don't appear to be cause behind the uptick in cases.

"I'm concerned," said Dante Javier. "But we are, I mean me and my family, we are committed to in-person teaching."

Javier knows about the 48 cases within the Liberty Unified District, but he's confident sending his daughter on campus, largely because his entire family is vaccinated.

"Yes, I'm confident," he said. "I just worry about the people around her."

Liberty, like every school district on the eastern side of Contra Costa, is looking at vaccination rates somewhere between 60 and 70 percent. By comparison, vaccination rates on the other side of the county are in the upper 80s, or above 90 percent. That discrepancy is reflected in case numbers, as Oakley and Brentwood rank fourth and sixth in the county for COVID cases over the past two weeks.

"So the public health department is telling us that we should expect to have positive rates that equal that of what we are seeing in our community," said Brentwood Union School District Superintendent Dana Eaton.

Eaton said his district saw 19 cases last week, and from their contract tracing, the district has received some reassuring news.

"We're finding that the cases that are coming in, or coming from the outside," he continued. "We're not seeing COVID transmit within our classrooms."

That means schools are not spreading the virus, but rather picking up on what's already in the community. With more vaccination, those numbers will eventually fall off.

"So we are hoping that our vaccination numbers continue to rise like they have in the last couple of weeks," Superintendent Eaton said.

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