This past week, Midpeninsula cities declared states of emergency, and county offices of education mandated closures of schools for several weeks.
Verily, a subsidiary of Alphabet, has launched an online tool to help screen patients for COVID-19 testing. The tool, called Project Baseline, triages people who are concerned about their COVID-19 risk and sends them to testing sites if they fit criteria based on their symptoms, according to an announcement by the company.
The pilot program is available to residents of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties who can take the screener survey starting Monday, March 16.
To use the screening tool, visit projectbaseline.com.
In Santa Clara County, which has the most cases of any county in California, the number of people confirmed to have COVID-19 jumped from 79 to 114 between Friday and Sunday. Of those, two people have died, 48 are hospitalized; 52 cases were a result of community transmission.
San Mateo County reported its first death due the coronavirus this weekend, an older adult with underlying medical conditions. The county did not release further information. In San Mateo County, 31 people have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Sunday, March 15. The number of cases stood at 20 on Friday.
Safeway supermarkets in Palo Alto, Mountain View and Menlo Park have shortened their hours to enable staff to restock the shelves and clean the stores, according to signs posted on the doors and phone recordings. The Safeways are open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. with the following exceptions, which are open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.: Menlo Park at 525 El Camino Real; Mountain View at 645 San Antonio Road.
Caltrain is reducing its weekday service "in response to a significant decline in ridership stemming from efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus." The changes are effective Tuesday, March 17.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new state restrictions in a Sunday press conference, including home isolation of everyone in the state over age 65, closure of all bars, wineries and nightclubs and requiring restaurants to reduce their occupancy by half. Newsom also said that 51% of all California school districts have closed and that 80-85% of all students statewide will no longer be in class starting Monday, March 16.
"These are profoundly significant steps in real time and they're significant steps up from two days ago," Newsom said. "We're guided deeply not by anxiety, not by fear but a very pragmatic response to meet this moment without creating other unintended consequences."
Santa Clara County
Stanford Health Care announced on Sunday, March 15, that drive-through appointments for Stanford Medicine's COVID-19 test are now available for patients who have been referred by their medical providers. Patients remain in their cars for the tests, which take a few minutes and are administered by a physician, advanced practice provider or nurse outfitted in protective clothing, including a gown, goggles, mask and gloves, Stanford Health Care said. Patients will be notified of their COVID-19 test results within 24 hours; if the result is positive, their doctors will make sure they get appropriate care, which can range from hospitalization for people showing severe symptoms to telemedicine visits and self-quarantine for those with mild cases. The drive-through tests are available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week, at Express Care's Hoover Pavilion location in Palo Alto. Patients can call 650-498-9000 to speak with a nurse who will assess the next step for their care.
The City of Palo Alto activated its emergency operations center on Sunday, March 15, and is launching a community support call center early this week. Mayor Adrian Fine is also convening a meeting of the Citizen Corps Council, which provides coordination between government and community institutions including Stanford University and Healthcare, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Palo Alto Unified School District, as well as business and volunteer organizations.
Bishop Oscar Cantu asked all parishes, missions and chapels in the Diocese of San José to suspend public masses beginning today, March 14, until further notice. There are diocese churches in Palo Alto, Mountain View and Los Altos.
The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), the multi-billion dollar agency that plans and operates the county's road and transit network, announced today, March 14, that starting on Monday, March 16, it will reduce capacity on its light rail vehicles, running one-car trains instead of two- and three-car trains. It will also suspend its school-trip service for three weeks in light of school closures.
On Friday, Santa Clara County Public Health officials ordered all public schools to close for three weeks, starting Monday through April 3. Also on Friday, Santa Clara County Public Health officials banned all gatherings of 100 persons or more.
Palo Alto will keep all libraries and community centers closed starting Saturday in response to the coronavirus and recent guidance from Santa Clara County, the city announced Friday evening. As of Friday, all in-person library programs and services in Mountain View have been cancelled or postponed through April 6.
The city, which had already cancelled more than 30 events, is also instituting a hiring freeze, City Manager Ed Shikada announced Friday.
In addition to libraries, the city will keep the Palo Alto Art Center, the Mitchell Park Community Center, the Lucie Stern Community Center, the Junior Museum and Zoo, the Children’s Theatre and Rinconada Pool closed as of Saturday. The Palo Alto Animal Shelter will also be closed and all events at programs at Cubberley Community Center will be suspended.
Tenants at Cubberley may modify or suspend their activities in accordance with county guidance, the city announced, referring to the county’s Friday order banning all events with more than 100 people and requiring precautionary measures for all events with more than 35 people.
San Mateo County
The San Mateo County health department announced Saturday evening that it is banning gatherings of more than 50 people for three weeks starting on Sunday. The order also advises against get togethers of more than 10 people. This amends its Thursday order, which barred all gatherings larger than 250 people starting on Friday.
The health department issued an order on Friday to close all schools in the county for three weeks starting Monday.
San Mateo County Libraries announced on Friday that all of its library branches would close starting Monday until March 31.
On Friday, the San Mateo County Probation Department suspended visitation at the Youth Services Center – Juvenile Hall and the Margaret J. Kemp Camp (Camp Kemp) facilities until further notice to curb the spread of the virus.
San Mateo County and Parks will stay open, but the county is taking immediate protective actions, county officials said Friday. Visitors will pay at designated pay stations rather than at gate house; all staff and docent-led events, including hikes and tours, are canceled through March; the Bicycle Sunday event is canceled through March and the Parks department's main office in Redwood City and Coyote Point Marina office will be closed to the public indefinitely.
Menlo Park declared a local state of emergency on Thursday, closing City Hall and other facilities. Atherton followed suit on Friday, canceling events and scaling back public meetings.
Organizations are also announcing temporary closures. In Palo Alto, the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center will close for at least two weeks starting Sunday night, March 15, according to a March 13 email from CEO Zack Bodner.
Preschool and Club J will be closed as well. However, he wrote, "In the coming days, we will be working to find creative ways to keep connecting people with each other, whether that is through distance learning or exercise broadcasts or check-ins with isolated people in our community."
There has not been any confirmed case of COVID-19 at the JCC, the email stated.
"At this time, we will not be able to issue refunds for March membership or tuition," Bodner wrote.
The annual Stanford Powwow, which takes place on Mother's Day weekend, has also been canceled, organizers said on their website.
On Thursday, Little House Activity Center and the Rosener House Adult Care center, two Menlo Park programs that cater to seniors, will be closed as of the end of the day Friday for two weeks.
Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and Almanac here.