Marin County Delays Some Reopenings as Covid-19 Cases Rise

Marin County, like many other regions in California, has recorded an increase in new Covid-19 cases over the past week. The increase in active cases is significant enough that the county is rethinking its reopening schedule this summer.

“Since the beginning of our reopening process in early May, Marin Public Health has committed to moving at a sequential rate, guided by local Covid-19 data and our progress indicators,” said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin’s public health officer, in a statement. “We’re seeing patterns we need to pay attention to. We’re not closing anything down. We’re just slowing the pace in response to the data.”

That slowed-down pace means the reopening process for several Marin County businesses scheduled to open doors on June 29 has been paused for the moment. The delayed reopenings include hotels, motels, short-term rentals, gyms, tattoo parlors, piercing shops, non-medical massage services, nail salons and other personal service businesses. These businesses will be re-evaluated for the next round of reopenings at a yet-to-be-determined date.

The businesses and activities allowed to move forward with reopening on June 29 include indoor dining, hair salons and barbershops. Also coming back in Marin County are campgrounds and RV parks, among other outdoor, vehicle-based gatherings.

On June 25, Marin counted 54 new cases of Covid-19, the highest number in any one day in the county since the pandemic appeared locally in March. This increase in cases is leading to record numbers of people being hospitalized with the virus—currently 12—as well as people battling the virus in intensive care—currently five. 

Complicating Marin County’s response to Covid-19 is a large outbreak at San Quentin State prison, with more than 500 inmates infected in the past two weeks. In addition to the infected inmates, some of whom have been transferred to local hospitals in critical condition, more than 75 prison employees have also been infected.

“We’re all eager to move forward out of the shelter-in-place, but the pandemic is far from over,” said Max Korten, director of Marin County Parks and acting coordinator for the Marin Recovers Industry Advisors, in a statement. “We have a shared responsibility in this. Everyone in Marin County needs to wear a face covering, maintain social distance and practice good hygiene. These are simple tools, and our ability to reopen further depends a lot on following these practices as a community.”

Recent spikes in cases have been observed across the State of California, meaning that other Bay Area counties such as San Francisco and Contra Costa County have also announced delays in their reopening plans.

On June 28, The California Department of Public Health announced that the state’s positivity rate—a barometer for community spread—is still moderately trending upward on average for the last two weeks, with hospitalization rates also slightly increasing over the last 14 days. 

As of June 28, California has 211,243 confirmed cases of Covid-19 from 3,955,952 tests conducted. There have been 5,905 Covid-19-related deaths in the state since the start of the pandemic. As testing numbers continue to grow across the state, an increase in the number of positive cases is expected—highlighting the importance of positivity rates to find signs of community spread.

Find more information on Marin County’s reopening and response to Covid-19 at MarinRecovers.com.

Charlie Swanson
Charlie Swanson is a North Bay native and an arts and music writer and editor who has covered the local scene since 2014.
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