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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Neetu Balram November 16, 2020 Public Information Manager Alameda County Public Health Department

eoc-pio@acgov.org

State Moves Alameda County to Purple Tier

Starting at 12:01 a.m. on November 18 previously open sectors and activities are restricted to State’s Purple Tier allowances and restrictions

ALAMEDA COUNTY, CA – Due to very rapid and widespread increases in COVID-19 cases, the California Department of Public Health has modified its Blueprint for a Safer Economy to allow for a faster, more nimble response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than using data from two weeks ago and moving only one tier at a time, the State is now using data from the past week and moving counties multiple tiers if necessary. These significant changes allow for a timelier response that will protect our communities, save lives, and keep our health care systems from becoming overwhelmed.

Like other Bay Area counties, the Alameda County COVID-19 case rate continues to increase daily and hospitalizations are also on the rise. Today, the State placed Alameda County – along with 40 other counties – in the Purple Tier, the most restrictive level in the state’s reopening framework. The State took this action in response to local and statewide increases in the daily COVID-19 case rates.

What this means for Alameda County Businesses and Residents:

  • Effective at 12:01 a.m. on November 18, all activities and sectors must conform to the State’s requirements for counties in the Purple Tier.
  • Per the State’s requirements, any activity that was only permitted in the Red or Orange Tier will need to close, effective November 18. A list is available on the California Department of Public Health website.
  • Alameda County will provide additional guidance to local restaurants in the coming days on how to continue operating outdoors safely as the weather changes. Current guidance is available here: https://covid-19.acgov.org/recovery
  • Any school that currently has students attending classes in person may continue to do so. Effective November 18 no additional schools may open for in-person instruction, and Alameda County is not offering a waiver process for elementary schools. Schools that are not open are encouraged to utilize the State’s school-based small cohort guidance (State’s FAQ). Alameda County Health Care Services Agency in partnership with the Alameda County Office of Education will continue to support local schools with guidance and technical expertise.
  • As the situation develops, we may need to further restrict activities to slow the spread of the virus.

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Since Alameda County joined other Bay Area Counties to implement the first COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place Order in March, we have moved cautiously with our reopening and continued seeking opportunities to keep activities open once they were permitted. While this approach has served us well, the most recent wave of new infections in Alameda County and across the state appear to be growing even faster than what we experienced in the summer.

We must take steps now to limit opportunities for people to mix and gather, especially indoors without masks, to avoid overwhelming our health care system, limit severe disease and death due to COVID-19, and protect frontline workers and medically vulnerable residents.

Prior experiences with surges in the Bay Area and around the world have demonstrated that limiting activities and gatherings, along with wearing face coverings, can flatten the curve. Acting quickly and aggressively will help us save lives. The Local Health Officer may act to restrict activities more than the State’s requirements in order to respond to local disease conditions and protect public health.

There is no question that this has been an incredibly difficult year, but a concerted effort now will help us minimize risk to our residents during this wave of the pandemic. We know what drives the spread of COVID-19: mixing with people from other households, especially indoors and without masks. To prevent further spread of COVID-19, avoid gathering with people you don’t live with, limit activities, wear face coverings whenever you leave home, stay home when ill, and keep interactions with others outdoors. We thank Alameda County residents and businesses for their support and efforts – we all need to work together to keep each other healthy.

“We need Alameda County residents and businesses to, once again, rise to the challenge and help flatten the curve,” said Dr. Nicholas Moss, Alameda County Health Officer. “Stay home for the holidays, wear face masks, maintain at least 6 feet of distance, wash your hands frequently, and get your flu shot. Now more than ever, we must protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our neighbors with these simple strategies. We all must recommit ourselves to the safety measures that helped us lower case rates in September and October.”

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