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Face coverings now required at outdoor dining settings in Contra Costa County

Bay Area

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — Contra Costa County is making changes to its social distancing health order following a rise in coronavirus cases.

The updated health order will tighten face-covering requirements and ban outdoor gatherings where there is an elevated risk of spread the virus.

Data shows that a little over 8% of coronavirus tests over the past week were positive, a sign that health officials say show the virus is spreading rapidly within the county.

Contra Costa County officials are especially concerned about the risk of COVID-19 transmission at indoor gatherings, and in gatherings that require removing face coverings like while eating and drinking.

The seven-day average number of new cases identified in the county rose from 38 on June 8 to 146 on July 8. The seven-day average number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients rose from 17 to 54 during the same period.

The 209 intensive care unit beds in county hospitals are on average a little more than half full on a given day, including COVID-19 patients and patients with other health concerns.

Contra Costa Health Services is concerned that the number of patients needing intensive care could quickly exceed capacity.

According to the new health order, indoor worship services are banned — effective Sunday at 11:59 p.m.

In outdoor dining settings, staff and customers must now wear a face covering at all times, except when putting food or drink in the mouth. The new order also increases guidance for businesses that serve alcohol with meals to better align with state guidelines.

Members of extended family “social bubbles” must now always use face coverings when together, except when putting food or drink in the mouth.

Certain categories of outdoor gatherings, including worship services and social protests, are allow at any size in Contra Costa so long as state health guidelines are followed, including physical distancing and appropriate use of face coverings.

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