Health officers from four Bay Area counties and the City of Berkeley today are expressing their support for Santa Clara County’s new health order restricting higher-risk activities to reduce the likelihood of hospitals becoming overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
Santa Clara County officials estimate that hospitals in their county will reach or exceed capacity in the coming weeks if they do not take decisive action to stem the spread of COVID.
Given their situation, Santa Clara County officials announced they would enact new rules for businesses and residents, which go into effect on Monday, Nov. 30.
The new rules reduce the number of customers allowed in stores at a given time, limit hotels to only essential travel and require travelers coming into Santa Clara County from distances greater than 150 miles to quarantine for 14 days. They also temporarily prohibit youth, collegiate, and professional contact sports in Santa Clara County.
While health officials in neighboring Bay Area counties say they haven’t reached the same critical point as Santa Clara, they may also have to take similar actions soon in order to preserve remaining regional hospital capacity to treat both COVID and non-COVID medical conditions, such as severe illnesses caused by flu. A month ago, there were 262 people hospitalized with COVID in the Bay Area; as of yesterday, that number had nearly tripled to 759.
That’s why Health Officers in Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Marin County, San Francisco, and the City of Berkeley are expressing their unified support for Santa Clara County’s decision.
“COVID doesn’t care about borders or county lines. What is happening in Santa Clara County now may reach that level elsewhere in the Bay Area in the near future,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, Contra Costa County’s Health Officer.
Dr. Farnitano and other Health Officers urged people to continue taking basic safety precautions to protect themselves and others from COVID:
- Wear face coverings when around people you don’t live with
- Stay home as much as possible. If you must go out, limit yourself to essential activities, such as grocery shopping or getting healthcare
- Avoid mixing with people from other households
- Maintain physical distancing from others
- Wash your hands regularly
Contra Costa Health Services | cchealth.org
Editors Note: More from the Health Order
Below are key changes being made to the Mandatory Directives:
Capacity Limits for Indoor Facilities Open to the Public:
Stores and other facilities open to the public will be limited to 10% capacity indoors. Grocery stores, drug stores, and pharmacies, however, will be allowed to operate at 25% capacity indoors to ensure adequate access to food and medicine.
All facilities open to the public must establish a “metering system” to ensure that the applicable capacity limits are not exceed by, for example, posting an employee at the facility entrance to track the number of people entering and exiting.
Gatherings continue to be allowed only outdoors, with a maximum of 100 people. The State limits such gatherings to First Amendment protected activities, such as religious services or protests.
Professional, Collegiate, and Youth Sports:
All recreational activities that involve physical contact or close proximity to persons outside one’s household, including all contact sports, will be temporarily prohibited. People can continue to engage in outdoor athletics and recreation where social distancing can be maintained at all times.
Cardrooms are temporarily closed.
Hotels and Other Lodging Facilities:
Hotels and other lodging facilities will be open only for essential travel and for use to facilitate isolation or quarantine.
Leisure and non-essential travel are strongly discouraged, and a new Mandatory Directive on Travel will require people to quarantine for 14 days upon return to the County from travel of more than 150 miles. Healthcare workers traveling into the county to provide care or patients traveling into the county to obtain treatment will be exempted from this requirement.