SANTA CLARA COUNTY COULD RETURN TO 'RED TIER' ON MARCH 3: Santa Clara County health officials announced Thursday that indoor dining and other currently prohibited activities could resume as soon as this Wednesday, following a decline in new COVID-19 cases and rising vaccination rates.
COVID-19 CASE TOTALS DECLINING AMONG MINORITIES: The number of people in the most vulnerable communities across Santa Clara and San Mateo counties who are testing positive for COVID-19 are finally coming down, health leaders in both counties told their respective board of supervisors on Tuesday.
VACCINE CLINIC OPEN TO SAN MATEO COUNTY RESIDENTS FEB. 26-27: This Friday and Saturday, Feb. 26 and 27, San Mateo County residents 65 years and older can receive the COVID-19 vaccine at Jefferson High School in Daly City. The clinic will offer first doses of the Moderna vaccine to county residents for free, regardless of insurance. Read more here.
NEW COVID-19 CASES, DEATHS: Santa Clara County as of Thursday had 109,841 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,765 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Feb. 17 was 231. There were 205 people hospitalized, 32 of which were new. San Mateo County as of Thursday had 38,674 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 515 deaths. There were 50 people hospitalized. Data from both counties may be incomplete due to an earlier problem with the state's reporting system for communicable diseases.
SAN MATEO COUNTY CAN MOVE INTO THE RED TIER: California has allowed San Mateo County to move from the most-restrictive purple tier of reopening to the red tier, effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. The change allows the county to allow for loosened restrictions, which lets restaurants and gyms accommodate people indoors with modifications, among other activities. Read more here.
SANTA CLARA COUNTY TO EXTEND VACCINATIONS TO EDUCATORS, AGRICULTURAL WORKERS: Santa Clara County plans to widen COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to employees in education, child care, emergency services, food and agriculture, starting Feb. 28. Read more here.
YOUR COVID-19 VACCINE QUESTIONS — ANSWERED: We've compiled a list of who can currently get vaccinated in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, plus answers to common questions and links to resources. Read more here.
COVID-19 TESTS AVAILABLE BY APPOINTMENT: Santa Clara County is operating appointment-only COVID-19 test sites on a rotating basis. Read more here.
Santa Clara County health officials announced Thursday that indoor dining and other currently prohibited activities could resume as soon as this Wednesday, March 3, following a decline in new COVID-19 cases and rising vaccination rates.
The rollback of public health restrictions would allow numerous activities — ranging from gyms and fitness centers to indoor dining at restaurants — to return under the state's "red tier." The county has been stuck in the more restrictive purple tier since mid-November, following a staggering increase in cases that lasted through the holidays.
The number of newly reported COVID-19 cases in the county has dropped significantly in the last month, with a seven-day rolling average ending Feb. 17 of 231 new cases reported daily. Coupled with high vaccination rates, and the county is now poised to return to the red tier on Wednesday, county Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said.
"With vaccinations now reaching more broadly into the community, including over half of those age 65 and older, we are making significant progress in protecting our most vulnerable community members," Cody said in a statement.
County health officials are also relaxing public health restrictions related to youth sports and other outdoor activities, with new rules set to go into effect on Friday, Feb. 26. The new rules, based on state guidelines, allow for outdoor, low-contact sports including biking, badminton, golf and tennis.
Indoor sports will remain prohibited as of Friday, and will likely stay off-limits even after the state switches the county from the purple tier to the red tier. Sports allowed in the red tier include baseball, cheerleading, dodgeball, softball and volleyball.
Rules related to outdoor gatherings have also been relaxed, though Cody is still advising that anyone participating in an outdoor gathering should wear a mask when coming within 6 feet of others. Indoor gatherings remain prohibited.
The number of people in the most vulnerable communities across Santa Clara and San Mateo counties who are testing positive for COVID-19 are finally coming down, health leaders in both counties told their respective board of supervisors on Tuesday, Feb. 23.
Both counties have made concerted equity efforts toward giving residents in the most underserved communities access to care, testing and vaccines, the leaders said. Residents of those communities, including east San Jose, parts of Mountain View, Gilroy, East Palo Alto, east Menlo Park, North Fair Oaks, Burlingame, Daly City and Pacifica, have been disproportionately impacted by the deadly and debilitating virus.
One month ago, the seven-day average of cases per 100,000 of population was about 85 for Latinos, but it plummeted to about 35 by Feb. 15; cases for Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders dropped from 80 to about 25. African Americans dropped from 31 to about 11; Asian populations in general dropped from 25 to a little more than 10; and whites dropped from less than 20 to fewer than 10, according to Santa Clara County data.
While county officials were pleased with the over 60% drop in cases among Latinos, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders and African Americans, the equity gap still needs to be further reduced so that the difference in case percentages will be equal, Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said.
San Mateo County also saw a similar trend. Cases have dropped by more than 60% among Latinos, the hardest-hit group, according to county data.
California public health officials approved San Mateo County's move from the most restrictive purple tier COVID-19 designation to the less-restrictive red tier on Feb. 23. It means that more businesses and activities in the county will be allowed. The new tier will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24.
Five counties moved to a less restrictive tier on Tuesday: Humboldt, Marin, San Mateo, Shasta, and Yolo moved from purple to red. Trinity County worsened, going from orange to red. Forty-seven counties remain in the purple tier, nine in the red tier and two stayed in the orange tier, according to state data.
San Mateo County officials said the movement to the red tier and downward trend in infections are encouraging.
"This is great news for our small businesses and our entire community," said San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President David J. Canepa. "And this move is a direct result of all of us taking personal responsibility for our actions. If we wear our damn masks, keep our distance and follow common-sense health and safety protocols, we can get back to doing what we all love to do."
Read more here.
Santa Clara County health officials announced an update to the county's COVID-19 health order Monday, allowing for multiple outdoor activities including youth sports and performing arts to resume.
The health order revision will take effect Friday, according to county officials. The county also plans to relax restrictions on multi-household outdoor gatherings to discourage residents from gathering indoors, where the risk of coronavirus transmission is higher.
The update follows the state's announcement last Friday that it would allow outdoor youth sports to resume with a handful of caveats, requiring regular testing for contact sports like football and rugby and linking the resumption of some sports like baseball to the reopening tier in which a county is placed.
Santa Clara County Health Officer and Director of Public Health Dr. Sara Cody acknowledged the need to maintain mental and physical health as the region nears the anniversary of the first coronavirus-related stay-at-home order.
"Children and adults alike need to participate in the many activities that support their mental, physical, and social wellbeing," Cody said in a statement. "We know that the state has made rapid changes to its rules on athletic activities. It is important that changes are consistent across the board."
The updated guidance on outdoor activities is expected to be posted to the county's coronavirus website in the coming days.
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