Four Bay Area counties fail equity requirement for reopening

By Fiona Kelliher and Nico Savidge, The Mercury News, October 6, 2020

“California added its ‘equity metric’ last week to the list of criteria counties must meet before they can advance through the color-coded tiers created to guide the reopening of shuttered businesses and activities.”

Counties that fail the state’s equity requirement, “must promise to direct more resources toward testing and contact tracing in coronavirus hotspots.”

“On Tuesday, Oct. 6, data showed San Francisco, Contra Costa, San Mateo, and Sonoma counties were among 12 statewide whose coronavirus infection rates were particularly high in those neighborhoods and did not meet the requirement. All others in the Bay Area, including Alameda and Santa Clara counties, met the benchmark.

“The metric is California’s most aggressive move yet to try to address the global pandemic’s disparate impact on its Black, Latinx, and Pacific Islander residents. Although Latinx people make up less than 40 percent of California’s population, they account for more than 60 percent of coronavirus cases and nearly half of deaths, according to the California Department of Public Health.

“San Mateo County officials, who last week praised the new metric even as they predicted they might fail to meet it, said they have worked to expand testing, improve contact tracing, and provide financial support for housing or food to help people stay isolated. The county’s most at-risk areas include parts of Redwood City, San Mateo, and East Palo Alto.”

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