Bay Area county with highest COVID-19 death rate gets green light to join Phase 3 reopening

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Mateo County is the latest California county to get permission from the state to further reopen businesses included in Stage 3 of reopening.

If a county wants to open gyms, bars, hair salons, barbershops, schools, dine-in restaurants, movie theaters shopping malls or professional sporting events, they have to go through an attestation process, in which they certify the spread of COVID-19 is under control locally.

RELATED: Here's everything allowed to open in CA (and what we're still waiting on)

San Mateo County filed for attestation on Friday and appeared on the state's list of certified counties Tuesday morning. All but five counties in California have successfully completed the process.

San Mateo has completed the process despite having the highest COVID-19 death rate by far in the Bay Area. The county has seen nearly 13 deaths per 100,000 residents. San Mateo and San Francisco counties are neck and neck when it comes to having the highest case rate, which is the number of positive coronavirus cases per capita.


But the state isn't looking at those specific numbers to make its decision on whether a county can move into further reopening. In order to be approved, counties have to prove to the state they meet the following criteria:
  • Stable or decreasing hospitalization rate OR no more than 20 people hospitalized in the county for the last 14 days

  • No more than 25 individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 per 100,000 residents over past 14 days

  • Test positivity rate of less than 8%

  • Essential workers must have access to PPE

  • A minimum capacity of 1.5 tests per 1,000 residents daily

  • At least 15 contact tracers per 100,000 residents

  • Ability to temporarily house 15% of the county's homeless population

  • Hospitals are equipped to handle a 35% surge at minimum

  • Nursing facilities have a two-week supply of PPE

  • Continue to monitor metrics to potentially re-enact restrictions


RELATED: Only 5 CA counties are still not allowed to reopen restaurants, salons and malls

UPDATE, June 17, 3:45 p.m.: San Mateo County revised its health order Wednesday to make the following changes:
  • Hair salons, barbershops, gyms, zoos, movie theaters, dine-in restaurants, casinos and summer camps can reopen with modifications effective immediately

  • Nail salons, tattoo shops, massage parlors and other beauty services will be allowed to reopen on Friday, June 19

  • County residents can now form "social bubbles," or social groups of 12 or fewer people. More on social bubbles here.

  • Face masks are required while waiting in line to enter businesses or while waiting for and riding public transit

  • Face masks are recommended but not required while exercising outside


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