Has the county met the state's metrics for reopening? | May 22, 2020 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - May 22, 2020

Has the county met the state's metrics for reopening?

As Stage 2 of reopening begins, county has met some requirements — but lags on others

by Sue Dremann

As the state inches toward reopening from the COVID-19 crisis, counties are working to meet the California Department of Public Health's criteria in order to further relax restrictions on businesses and public movement. For some counties, the progression will be easier than for others. Santa Clara County, with one of the state's largest populations, has a way to go, according to its data.

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Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be emailed at [email protected]

Comments

Posted by Wuhan Jimmy
a resident of Barron Park
on May 20, 2020 at 10:09 am


I wish we had a republican governor like Texas does. There might be a bit more sanity in our reopening process.

Governing is about making trade-offs. Elected officials listen to various points of view (health, economic, social, etc.) and then make decisions. If people don’t like their decisions, they can vote them out. To whom are the unelected county health directors beholden to?


Posted by Zhao
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 20, 2020 at 10:18 am

China has controlled COVID-19 and Disneyland in Shanghai has reopened with various public health mandates like maintaining proper spacing requirements.

Why can't Santa Clara County open Great America? It is a great venue for children to conglomerate and be entertained.

Besides, with the possible exception of the Kawasaki Syndrome (which there is no confirmed scientific correlation), children as a rule do not get coronavirus, only adults.

Adult supervision could be provided by Great America staff to avoid unwilling parents being forced to attend such a childish venue.

It could be like daycare.


Posted by Anonymous
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2020 at 10:49 am

@Wuhan Jimmy

The governor of Texas flat out said we should sacrifice parents and grandparents because they would willingly give up their lives for the economy, and that he would basically volunteer to die for the economy. Glad you agree with that approach. Hopefully you or those around you aren't above age 55-60, and if you are, great to hear that you wouldn't mind dying or killing off your parents right now to get things re-open. This is the mind set of the Texas governor. He does not care about saving lives at all.

Since Texas re-opened, their number of covid cases has been increasing. But the governor doesn't care. So what if people die.

I'm beyond grateful that we put safety first in California. I care about my family members and don't want anyone to die.


Posted by Anonymous
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2020 at 10:51 am

@ Zhao

I hope you are joking, right?

Children do get coronavirus and more importantly, they can easily spread it to their parents, grandparents, and anyone in the community (including young people who have health conditions like diabetes, or are immunocompromised).


Posted by Bob Gleason
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 20, 2020 at 10:59 am

Analysis paralysis .. why do we have elected leaders if all they do is build out a pro / con spreadsheet and wait for the green light to turn on. I am hoping the recent reluctant salary reduction will provide some incentive for making the more difficult decision rather than relinquishing to unelected healthcare professionals or AI algorithms.


Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 20, 2020 at 11:07 am

>> Condition: Counties should be able to conduct 1.5 COVID-19 tests per 1,000 residents daily, or about 2,892 tests per day, in Santa Clara County.
>> Condition met?: No.
>> The county has only conducted about 1,200 to 1,300 tests per day and has a minimal goal to conduct 4,000 tests per day by May 31

I'm confused by this. Isn't the minimal goal described 2892, not 4000? When will the 2892 goal be met?

>> Skilled nursing facilities are a different matter. Not all have certified their personal equipment supply.

>> "How can I say this politely? Some of them have ignored our request," Smith told the Board of Supervisors on May 12.

How about they publicize which SNFs are refusing to comply? Families should get their loved ones moved to a compliant facility ASAP.


Posted by Old and in the way
a resident of Downtown North
on May 20, 2020 at 11:46 am

I have wondered if all the conservative foot-dragging on maintaining safe conditions until infection and death rates decrease significantly is really a plot to clear out the Social Security generation, freeing up more money for subsidizing business cronies of our feckless leader. It just surprises me that so many people are up for this, but who needs the hard-won wisdom of the older generation, anyway? Who worries about children getting lifetime impairments from the still mostly unknown side effects of pediatric covid-19? Who cares if the underclass is disproportionately affected, leaving those who can least afford major health care needing more of it? People in a rush to go out and mingle will be the next wave of infections, and their families and associates will bear the brunt. Enjoy.


Posted by Messifan
a resident of Ventura
on May 20, 2020 at 11:47 am

Let's talk about the "nos":
1. "Counties shouldn't report any deaths in the past 14 days." This was dropped by Newsom on Monday. Web Link It also does not take into account county size. A county of like 2 million should be not compared to a border county with few people. Any cutoff should be based on rates.
2. "Counties should be able to conduct 1.5 COVID-19 tests per 1,000 residents daily, or about 2,892 tests per day, in Santa Clara County. Testing should be available for 75% of residents within a 30-minute drive in urban areas or 60-minute drive in rural areas." The number of tests needed assumes a much higher positivity rate than the 1-2% in SCC. Testing is approaching 2000 per day (Web Link I assume we hit the distance threshold.
3. "Counties should have 15 contact tracers per 100,000 residents." The number of tracers available should be public info, but is not, so we don't know where we are. An article in the Merc a couple weeks ago said we could trace 75/day, much higher than needed now, and the state program to add tracers started a week or two ago so we should be able to scale up soon.

Overall, the county is in good shape as it is increasing testing and tracing in preparation for any growth in cases and current needs are being met.


Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 20, 2020 at 11:59 am

Posted by Messifan, a resident of Ventura

>> 3. "Counties should have 15 contact tracers per 100,000 residents." The number of tracers available should be public info, but is not, so we don't know where we are. An article in the Merc a couple weeks ago said we could trace 75/day, much higher than needed now, and the state program to add tracers started a week or two ago so we should be able to scale up soon.

For some reason there is much less publicity about the contact tracing capability. I'm not sure why. This seems to be the biggest gap in SCC.


Posted by Out of touch council
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 20, 2020 at 12:15 pm

Anon- hard to get any information from Cody. Just ask the supervisors. Sunday we were not ready to open said Cody. Monday we were said Cody.
I think she is just resting on her laurels and soaking in the misplaced praise for her.


Posted by coooper
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2020 at 12:20 pm

Didn't Newsom change the "no deaths in 14 days"?
From today's L.A. Times:
Gov. Gavin Newsom had initially tied reopening counties at a faster pace than the statewide standard to zero coronavirus deaths over a two-week period... [but] Newsom dropped the requirement this week ... A Times data analysis found that some counties, including ... Santa Clara ... meet two key requirements needed to move into the next phase of reopening, which includes dine-in restaurants and shopping malls.


Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on May 20, 2020 at 1:01 pm

I am glad to see testing more easily available these days. Who should be getting tested at this point? Only people with a doctor's recommendation? Only people with symptoms (how bad)? What about essential workers and other people in high risk groups (senior citizens, pre-existing conditions, etc) who have no symptoms?


Posted by YP
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 20, 2020 at 1:08 pm

Our officials keep moving the goal posts , first it was "flatten the curve" to prevent our health system from being overwhelmed. Now almost TEN weeks later does anyone really think we haven't met this goal? Now it's a administrative , bureaucratic , complex set of guidelines that require testing and tracing as if that will totally remove Covid risk. What's next continued restrictions until we get a vaccine?

Got news for everyone Covid well be around for months if not years so we need to deal with it rationally and realize the tradeoffs between safety and economic destruction. We need to move away from non-essential vs essential to safe vs unsafe ? How is it any less safe to walk into a small store vs a jam packed costco if guidelines of safety are similar.

Ok I get large gathering at ballparks, concerts etc not good idea but we are being too restrictive given numbers of infected/hospitalized in our area. Prioritize protecting the highest risk like nursing facilities. If you don't feel comfortable going out then don't .

Meanwhile unemployment rate highest since great depression.


Posted by Anonymous
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2020 at 2:12 pm

@YP are you following what is happening?

Every county and state in California is re-opening.

If you re-open everything right away, nobody knows what could happen. Cases will increase but we don't know how quickly.

By re-opening more slowly, with stages, we re-open certain things, then monitor to see what happens and what impact that had. This way, we can continue re-opening, instead of re-opening too quickly, and then having to back track.

There are a lot of things currently open. Not everything, but even the states that have almost fully "re-opened" have not opened everything (ie. some things are still shut down, and they have significantly reduced capacity in restaurants, stores, etc). I think Santa Clara County is moving cautiously, but this is the way to go. Wouldn't you rather be cautious than over do it and cause unnecessary deaths?

Everyone talks about all these unemployed people, but have you talked to them? Sure, there are some people that really want to go back to work and need money. But others actually don't want to go back to work yet because they don't feel safe. Even if we "re-opened" the economy not all businesses would open. And some workers are happy with and prefer unemployment rather than going back to work, for various reasons.


Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on May 20, 2020 at 3:09 pm

News videos crowded shopping malls in Texas are really scary. I am glad they are not experimenting with my life, but I am scared that they are experimenting with human lives.


Posted by TimR
a resident of Downtown North
on May 20, 2020 at 3:24 pm

I just now got back from a run through Stanford Campus, and I made sure to pass by the Galvez testing site to see what's going on there. My report: nothing at all is going on there, with hardly anyone around, and nobody there getting a test from what I could see. SCC has plenty of testing capacity. But given all the scare tactics over the last couple of months, people are too afraid to go out and get tested. So, if county officials want more testing, they really need to start doing PSA's encouraging people. Of course, those would have to include info. about how it's safe to do so, which thwarts the "keep fear alive" objective. But something's got to give.


Posted by Family Friendly
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 20, 2020 at 3:39 pm

"Of those, 475 were cases in long-term care facilities such as skilled nursing, assisted living, board-and-care and congregate independent living."

This just astonishes me. We've known from the beginning that the disease mainly affects the elderly. Nursing homes should be easy to isolate -- just put a rope across the entrance and prevent infected individuals from entering. And yet Cuomo and Newsom insist on *intentionally* sending infected people out of hospitals back to nursing homes.


Posted by Reality
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 20, 2020 at 3:59 pm

People saying "go slow" are those have secure income. They may just complain too many Zoom meetings everyone or my online groceries not coming again. Do you know the local, small businesses are dying. They lost almost everything from this virus. Look at how many people applied for unemployment. Government or GoFundMe cannot help much for longer terms.

Parents with younger kids need daycare desperately. They need to go back to work.

Kids and teenagers are bored to death. They need social life. Their mental health are at risk. Some have been playing online games for all days & nights. And some refuse to wake up at a decent time because they said there's no purpose of it.

In reality there are deaths. But are they numbers that high that we need to sacrifice so many people in Bayarea. If you are in high risk or you have closed contact with high risk people, you take extra cautions or do whatever you need to do. But we need to open things up SOONER.


Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 20, 2020 at 4:22 pm

Posted by Reality, a resident of Old Palo Alto
>> People saying "go slow" are those have secure income.

That isn't how exponential growth works. Look at this site to help you remember:

Web Link

Remember how New York went from 36 cases to 5365 cases in 14 days? ~1.5x *per day*? That is a very easily transmissible virus. California went from 21 confirmed cases on March 1st to 567 cases on day 14. Less personal contact, a lower growth rate of 1.26x, it took California another two weeks to get to the same point as New York. But, it got there. Exponential growth. If we go back to the way things were pre-Covid-19, we will be right back on an exponential growth curve. SARS-CoV-2 just doesn't care that you need to work. That is why we need to be smart about this and minimize transmission to the point where the exponent stays less than zero, which is what happens when people who have COVID-19 transmit it to fewer than 1 person on average. That is about where we are right now-- but it won't be if we go back to "normal". We need to go back to a new normal with reduced probability of transmission. Your business, big or small, needs to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.


Posted by Wuhan Jimmy
a resident of Barron Park
on May 20, 2020 at 4:27 pm


Good news: Ohio judge rules “lockdown” is illegal. Wish a local judge would do the same here.

Web Link


Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 20, 2020 at 4:41 pm

Posted by Wuhan Jimmy, a resident of Barron Park

>> Good news: Ohio judge rules “lockdown” is illegal. Wish a local judge would do the same here.

This ruling was on a specific point of law, but, it sounds like you would like to generalize it. How far? Does the type of disease matter? Typhoid, for example? Or HIV/AIDS? Were you around in 1984 when San Francisco (sort of-- a very long story) closed the bathhouses? Web Link What do you think about that?



Posted by What Will They Do Next
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 20, 2020 at 4:44 pm

@ Old and in the way ..... our "feckless leader" termed out in 2016.


Posted by YP
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 20, 2020 at 7:38 pm

[Post removed.]


Posted by Wuhan Jimmy
a resident of Barron Park
on May 20, 2020 at 8:13 pm


When all is said and done, we're going to be glad all this happened. We got a fire drill of a virus, not one that killed 40% of the working age population.

We got to see how incompetent and hysterical many of our leaders are. We got to see how ridiculous the CDC and the FDA are. The government response has been the exact "cytokine storm" that overreacts in people's immune systems and kills people.

We got to see how lazy bureaucrats and the businesses they directly depend on were deemed "essential" while they exterminated small businesses, 100,000 so far.


Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on May 21, 2020 at 7:05 am

Governor Newsom, and the county health officers should look at the other states, like Florida, Texas and Georgia, who have progressed must faster in reopening their states; even though they reopened, their new cases of COVID have dropped. They should look, as well at states with high numbers of COVID, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania. New York kept sending recovering COVID patients to nursing homes.

For a long period these health officials were saying masks were not needed, and now they want people to wear masks.

Governor Newsom and the county officers should also consider the effects that closing off the medical facilities for "elective" visits - like mammogram screenings, cancer screens, etc. will have on future health effects.


Posted by Zhao
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 21, 2020 at 8:14 am

Many Americans are anxious to get back to work. The economy is suffering.

On Fox News, Donald Trump Jr, and his younger brother Eric predicted that the COVID-19 pandemic will end immediately after the November 3rd elections...something about the pandemic being created and spread by the Democratic Party to discredit their father's presidency.

If so, many people (i.e. China, the WHO, CDC etc.) will be relieved and everyday life in America can perhaps return to normal.

My being new to the American political landscape, are Donald Jr. and Eric Trump's accusations creditable?


Posted by Zhao...1918 Revisited
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 21, 2020 at 9:02 am

My daughter just showed me this article.
Web Link
Apparently the 1918 Spanish Flu (which originated in Kansas) was covered up by Woodrow Wilson in order to promote his war effort & many U.S. soldiers died as a result.

So it appears that presidential humanistic responsibilities are not a trademark of either political party...or country.

My neighbor just informed me that the Trump sons are NOT credible spokespersons but rather INCREDIBLE as in unbelievable yet people in certain parts of the country actually believe them.


Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 21, 2020 at 9:24 am

Posted by Wuhan Jimmy, a resident of Barron Park

>> We got to see how lazy bureaucrats and the businesses they directly depend on were deemed "essential" while they exterminated small businesses, 100,000 so far.

You ignored all my points. Do you think that business closures are ever justified by public health? (e.g. SF bathhouse example above.). Does the type of small business matter? Why are bars and bathhouses "essential", compared to, say, *food*? Just because something is a small business doesn't mean it is sacred. If it is a risk to public health, that matters.


Posted by JL
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 21, 2020 at 10:07 am

At the beginning of April, Santa Clara County projected 2,000 to 16,000 deaths from Covid-19 by the end of May. 2,000 deaths was the BEST case scenario with strict social distancing, etc. On May 21, Santa Clara County is at 138 deaths. I understand why county officials presented dire scenarios at the time as there were a lot of unknowns around the spread of the disease. But I think it is safe to say that the current situation is a lot better than even the best case scenarios presented.
This is why it was ridiculous for Sara Cody to refuse to reopen the County last week (which thankfully changed, presumably due to pressure). She is quickly losing credibility with her warnings and is out of touch with reality. Not only is the economy a disaster, but people are afraid to get critical non-Covid health procedures done because of the continued fear mongering re: Covid. As a health official, maybe she is blind to the economy but she should at least be sensitive about the health risk about delayed/missed health procedures. As others have mentioned, there are trade-offs and right now, and she is now killing more people with the lockdown than saving people from Covid given what we have seen. At least Newsom is flexible enough to adjust on the fly based on what we are seeing; Cody is seemingly incapable of doing that.


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