New coronavirus cases at large and among the lowest income areas in Alameda County continue to trend downward, Dr. Nicholas Moss, Alameda County’s interim public health officer, told officials this week.

The positive trends mean the county could move from the state’s red tier to orange, as early as next week. The development could hasten further loosening of the county’s reopening orders.

Alameda County has also seen favorable declines in hospitalization since a surge in new cases occurred in mid-August. “We’ve had a steady decline in hospitalizations and our intensive care hospitalizations, signaling a steady decline in the burden of severe disease in Alameda County since the late summer peak,” Moss told the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

The county moved up from the more restrictive purple tier to red tier on Sept. 22. 

“As of today, our metrics are in the orange tier, and have been so for some days,” Moss said.

He added, “That would permit further reopenings, if we felt those reopenings were safe from the standpoint of our local population.”

Alameda County is scheduled to allow gyms to reopen with 10 percent capacity on Oct. 9. Hotels can also reopen the same day, although without amenities like fitness centers and indoor pools. Indoor museums, zoos, aquariums can resume business with up to 25 percent capacity.

Elementary schools will be allowed to reopen classrooms starting on Oct. 13, pending approval. Moss said the county will consider allowing middle schools and high schools to reopen within the next four to 12 weeks, depending on how the virus spreads after another round of loosening of the shelter in place orders.

If current trends continue, a number of indoor businesses may be in line for reopening over the next four to six weeks, Moss said.

They include indoor retail (up to 50 percent capacity); shopping centers (expanded to 50 percent capacity), along with food courts; indoor dining (up to 25 capacity or less than 100 people); indoor movie theaters (up to 25 capacity or less than 100 people); indoor places of worship (up to 25 capacity or less than 100 people); and outdoor cardrooms and satellite wagering.

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