Photo courtesy of TownNews

Twelve Bay Area health officers are stressing the importance of taking safety precautions, including continued masking indoors, as the region experiences a new swell of COVID cases and hospitalizations, according to a news release.

The current wave is fueled by highly contagious Omicron subvariants, officials said. Bay Area counties are seeing increases in reported cases, levels of virus in sewer sheds, and hospitalizations. Because of widespread use of home tests, actual case rates are higher than those reported, officials said.

Antioch has seen 293 cases the last two weeks (population 112,848), with 196 reported in Brentwood (population 66,907), 117 in Oakley (population 42,895) and 20 reported in Discovery Bay (population 15,358). Antioch's recent 14-day case count is the fifth highest of 31 county areas tracked. Brentwood's is seventh, with Oakley 12th and Discovery Bay 20th. Richmond registered the most cases in the past 14 days: 401 (population 133,289).

Health officers reiterate their continued strong support for people masking up indoors, keeping tests handy, and ensuring that they are up to date on vaccinations by getting boosters when eligible.

“There’s a lot of COVID out there right now, so it’s time to take more precautionary measures to protect yourself and your loved ones,” said Dr. Ori Tzvieli, health officer for Contra Costa County.

Although not required, masking is strongly recommended by the California Department of Public Health for most public indoor settings, and health officials say wearing higher-quality masks (N95/KN95 or snug-fitting surgical masks) indoors is a wise choice that will help people protect their health. Vaccines remain the best protection against severe disease and death from COVID.

Health officials say that people should also stay home if they feel sick, and get tested right away. Officials encourage testing after potential exposure, and limiting large gatherings to well-ventilated spaces or outdoors. For people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 infection, medications are available that can reduce your chances of severe illness and death. Talk with your healthcare provider right away if you test positive, officials said.

For more information on Contra Costa County COVID case rates, visit


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