The number of coronavirus cases sharply rose in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties over the weekend. As of Monday, San Mateo County has 309 cases and six deaths. Santa Clara County has 646 cases, 72 of which were reported on Saturday and Sunday, and 25 deaths.
Santa Clara County has the most people with the coronavirus compared to the eight other Bay Area counties. The county's 646 cases as of Sunday afternoon make up over a quarter of the region's total cases. The county's death count more than doubled and now stands at 25, five of which were reported on Saturday.
The total of COVID-19 cases in San Mateo County had grown to 239 on Friday. By Monday morning, the number of confirmed cases had risen to 309. The county also recorded five deaths over the past week, raising its death toll to six.
Stanford University is now aware of 29 people who are connected to the Stanford community either as faculty, staff, students or postdoctoral students and who have received positive COVID-19 test results.
To control crowds, state bans vehicle access at all 280 state parks
California State Parks announced on Sunday that it is temporarily closing vehicle access at all 280 state parks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The department issued the restriction following a noticeable increase of visitors at parks statewide over the start of the weekend.
"On Saturday, many state parks once again experienced visitation surges that made it impossible for the public to implement appropriate social/physical distancing practicing," according to the announcement.
The Parks Department recommends that residents stay close to home when going outdoors. "This is not the time for a road trip to a destination park or beach," according to the announcement.
The department said it will continue to monitor visitation at all state parks, and if the current restrictions are not sufficient to protect public health, additional measures may be taken to fully close parks, including trails, bathrooms and other amenities.
For more information about park closures, go to the State Parks COVID-19 Resource Center.
Ventilator acquisitions increase and positive cases rise
Gov. Gavin Newsom held a press conference at the Sunnyvale manufacturing plant of Bloom Energy on Saturday to highlight work the company is doing refurbishing ventilators. On March 16, Newsom called for 10,000 additional ventilators to meet a projected surge in serious COVID-19 cases. Since making the plea, the state has procured an additional 4,250 ventilators toward that goal, he said.
Bloom's CEO K.R. Sridhar said the company shipped 80 refurbished ventilators to the state on Friday — on top of 24 it originally shipped — and was shipping another 120 on Saturday. The company expects to increase production in the next weeks to handle 250 per day.
Bloom is also refurbishing 170 broken ventilators received by Los Angeles from the federal stockpile. That shipment should be delivered on Monday, he said.
Newsom said the state had a 105% surge in the number of people in intensive care units between Friday and Saturday, more than doubling from 200 to 410 cases. Hospitalization rose from 746 to 1,034 patients — a 38.6% increase. He added that while those numbers may be startling, they are much lower figures overall than in other states.
He strongly urged the public to continue to shelter in place. It is the only way to prevent further deaths and spread of the disease and to not overwhelm the hospital system.
San Mateo County closes its parks
All San Mateo County parks have been closed until further notice due to a sharp increase in visitors despite the shelter-at-home and social distancing orders enacted to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, county officials said on Friday.
The county had kept 17 of the 23 sites it manages open before Friday.
An increase in visitors last weekend and observations of park and trail use over the past several weeks led to the closure order.
"The decision to close parks is not easy, especially now when people are looking for outdoor experiences, but the safety of San Mateo County residents must always be a priority," said San Mateo County Parks Director Nicholas Calderon. "In that spirit we had to take this action."
Data collected from mid-February to March 25 showed increases of 50% to 300% in park use following the shelter-at-home order.
Park staff also noticed people gathering in groups and failing to keep a safe distance, county officials said.
"We have a limited amount of time for the shelter-in-place order to truly save lives," County Manager Mike Callagy said. "The sheer number of people crowding our parks and driving to reach them made them unsafe for our community. I appreciate the desire for our residents to get outside and enjoy our open spaces, but we cannot have them descending on our parks in large groups now."
Entrance gates and parking lots will be locked and notices will be posted that the parks and trails are closed.
Patrol of parks will continue during the closure.
Read our latest updates on the coronavirus crisis here.
Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.