A mass isolation and quarantine order for residents with novel coronavirus and their close contacts was issued Friday by Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano.
The order is intended to slow the spread of COVID-19, protect those most vulnerable and keep the county's health care workers from being overwhelmed, Farnitano said.
"The county's public health system no longer has the capacity to individually notify and track everyone with COVID-19 and their close contacts who may have been exposed to the virus," officials said in a news release.
The county, which had no cases at the beginning of March, has seen the count grow to 307 confirmed cases and five deaths as of Friday.
"We've reached a critical point in the COVID-19 crisis here in Contra Costa," Dr. Farnitano said. "Our resources are stretched extremely thin and business as usual is not an option. We believe this mass order is a creative and effective way of getting the job done to keep the sick isolated from others."
Residents who test positive must isolate themselves in their home or another residence and may not leave except to receive necessary medical care or during an emergency that requires evacuation, the county said.
Confirmed cases who show no symptoms must isolate for seven days from the date of a positive test. Those with symptoms must isolate at least seven days from the date their symptoms started.
Those who are initially symptomatic must also wait at least 72 hours have passed after symptoms -- including fever, coughing and shortness of breath -- go away, the county said.
Confirmed cases are now required to notify close contacts that they need to quarantine themselves if they may have been exposed. Close contacts must then remain at home or another residence for 14 days from the last date that they were in contact with the person infected or with COVID-19.
The county said close contacts are persons who lived or stayed overnight with a confirmed case during the infectious period, are intimate sexual partners of the individual; or provided care the person without wearing a mask, gown, and gloves.
Information on how to self-isolation and quarantine is online at cchealth.org/coronavirus.