Dr. Chris Farnitano of Contra Costa Health Services told the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that K-6 schools could open as early as next week if COVID-19 case rate continues to drop.
The county needs to have an average new daily case rate of 25 per 100,000 residents for a period of 5 days – a threshold set by the state. According to the County Health Services Dashboard, the positivity rate is at 7.1% while the Cases per 100,000 is at 31.4.
Farnitano told the Board of Supervisors that the county case rates have dropped significantly since the peak of the surge. He said he believed they would get below state threshold by next week which would allow K-6 schools to reopen. He estimated that middle schools and high schools could open once they are in the red tier which could be as soon as March.
This comes a week after state guidelines changed and a day after the Contra Costa County School Boards Association (CCCSBA) and fourteen school board presidents sent a joint letter calling on the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors and Contra Costa County Health Services to:
Dr. Farnitano Update (summary)
Says Contra Costa County is doing a better job than other areas. Says without response the way they did, would have had another 690 deaths, if looking at rest of US, would have had another 1,012 deaths without response of the county. Long Term Care Outbreaks are dropping. They had been increasing since November, but are now dropping as vaccinations have been occurring. With care facilities of 30 or more, 90% have been given at least one vaccine—will be at 100% by this weekend with many on dose 2. Smaller facilities, 62% have received first dose, 31% are scheduled. Goal is to have all facilities 1st dose by mid-February and trying to accelerate. Focusing on low income seniors as well.
Supervisor Gioia Argues Equity in Vaccine Distribution (summary)
Supervisor John Gioia explained his issues he had with the vaccine distribution explaining that the gap needs to be closed because lower income and LatinX is being vaccinated at a lower rate—which is 25% of the county.
He highlighted how the bottom areas were: Byron, Bay Point, Bethel Island, Richmond and Oakley. While the top areas include Walnut Creek, Diablo, Danville, Lafayette and Orinda.
“We are not going to be judged on not what we say, but how we perform. I am still concerned, the numbers show a gap from last week,” stated Gioia.
He requested a plan of how the new $40 million from the state be spend and have accountability to it. He wanted the County to be transparent which half is based on “equity factors”.
Supervisor Candace Andersen stated that given the large Senior population, it was the demographics as to why the vaccination rate was higher along with healthcare providers living in her District. Andersen says when they do the general population, it will be less skewed.
“None of us want to see inequitable results,” stated Andersen. “Its not the wealthy communities getting it, it’s the older communities.”
Gioia argued those communities don’t have three times the seniors but LatinX only went down 1% over the past week.
Supervisor Diane Burgis highlighted they have the staff, they have the plan but they do not have the supply and it felt like they were moving in slow motion.
“If we had the supply, this would not be an issue,” states Burgis.
Gioia stated having sites to vaccinate is not the issue, it’s the outreach to have the public awareness to educate people to get them vaccinated. He also argued while the county does not have the supply, some parts of the county are getting vaccinated at a rate 3-times higher than other parts of the community based on poverty and ethnic according to the data.
Dr. Roth agreed saying message heard which is why they hired a Chief Equity Officer.
Supervisor Federal Glover says the data is good, but he wants gap closure and equity. He urged the county health services to address the equity issues and begin to close the gap.
Help Your Neighbor Program
To launch later today to help older population to navigate online forms and get appointments. They will be asking cities to help through senior centers.