As we continue to follow Shelter in Place Order guidelines, I want to thank all of you for getting us to a point where we are can move into the second phase.
Despite hardships and disruption of your daily lives, your cooperation in stopping the spread of COVID-19 — by staying at home, keeping social distancing and wearing a face covering when necessary — brought us to place where Dr. Sara Cody, the County’s Public Health Officer, could loosen restrictions a bit.
Starting May 4, construction projects resumed, such outdoor businesses as plant nurseries reopened, childcare for essential workers became available and we started to enjoy some recreation activities, including golf and tennis. For all the details, please visit sccphd.org.
However, the Public Health Officials have said that we still need to keep following initial guidelines and the new safety precautions that are required as a condition to some of the activities now allowed. Until we have a vaccine, our vigilance is the most effective tool we have to fight this deadly virus.
There are five indicators that Dr. Sara Cody, our Public Health Officer, looks at before deciding if some of the restrictions can be loosened. She says that we’re doing well on the first two:
- The total number of cases in the community is flat or decreasing, and the number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 is flat or decreasing.
- We have sufficient hospital capacity to meet the needs of residents.
But Dr. Cody wants to see more progress on these indicators:
- Sufficient COVID-19 viral detection tests are being conducted daily.
- We have sufficient case investigation, contact tracing and the capacity to take care of those who need to be isolated or quarantined.
- We have at least a 30-day supply of Personal Protective Equipment available for all healthcare providers.
The County has ramped up testing for COVID-19 with community-based sites along with those already established, but many testing sites are not being used to capacity. Please visit my website at www.supervisorcortese.org to find information needed to determine if you should be tested and to find a testing site.
Currently, the County has the capacity to investigate 25 new cases a day, each of whom may have only a few contacts because of the Shelter in Place Order. Health officials believe we will need the capacity to investigate and contact trace 50 to 75 cases a day, with an anticipated average of 40 contacts per case. To reach this goal, the current team needs to expand to about 1,000 members, including volunteers. More information about this will be available soon.
A significant number of individuals will need to isolate or quarantine to make our contact tracing efforts effective. We will need substantial support from cities and other community partners to help provide housing, food, income support and other services.
We’re also not at the level of personal protective equipment that we need to have. Acute care hospitals’ basic PPE needs are generally being met, but this is because patient volume is extremely low. As patient volumes return to normal, PPE usage will increase significantly. Regular sized N95 masks and gowns are still in short supply.
My office sends out by email a daily newsletter devoted to COVID-19 information and resources. If you’re not on our mailing list, call my office at 408-299-5030 or email me at email@example.com. You can also visit the District 3 webpage at www.supervisorcortese.org for past newsletters by clicking on COVID-19 at the top of the page.
Please take care of yourselves and your families.