Contra Costa County may move into the red tier next week, allowing activities like indoor dining to resume, county health officials said Tuesday. (Photo via Pixabay)

One Tuesday down and one to go for Contra Costa County.

County health director Anna Roth told the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors Tuesday that the number of COVID-19 cases countywide has dropped into the state’s red tier for reopening, meaning Contra Costa restaurants, gyms and retail establishments will likely be able to open indoors, with limits, next week.

In-person instruction for grades 7-12 could also restart next week, assuming the county’s case numbers don’t spike.

“If we remain on the same path, which we expect that we will, that means that there will be some changes for our community early next week, or by mid-next week,” Roth said.

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

Both numbers fall into the state’s orange tier, which qualifies Contra Costa for its first official Tuesday toward the two consecutive Tuesdays mandated for the next level of reopening.

“We expect — if these trends continue — to meet the criteria next Tuesday, which means more business activities can be allowed next Wednesday, a week from tomorrow,” Farnitano said.

It would also mean grades 7 through 12 can return to campus, restaurants could reopen indoors at 25 percent capacity or 100 people, and retail could expand capacity from 25 to 50 percent. Gyms and fitness centers could reopen indoors at 10 percent capacity. Churches would remain capped at the their current 25 percent.

County officials also said they expect the state to expand vaccinations to people of all ages with high-risk conditions by March 15 — the same day the county will open another mass vaccination site at Diablo Valley College’s San Ramon campus.

Farnitano said the county will receive a “significant” increase of vaccine in the coming weeks.

More than 27 percent of Contra Costa residents — about 370,000 people — have received at least their first dose. Farnitano said people should still sign up for vaccination where they can, including multiple lists.

Residents can sign up at multiple sites, including the county health site ( and the state’s MyTurn page (