https://paloaltoonline.com/square/print/2022/02/09/santa-clara-county-to-keep-indoor-mask-mandate-for-now


Town Square

Santa Clara County to keep indoor mask mandate for now

Original post made on Feb 9, 2022

Santa Clara County's indoor mask mandate will stay in place when the state lifts its indoor masking requirement next week, county public health officials announced on Wednesday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, February 9, 2022, 9:54 AM

Comments

Posted by Richard
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 9, 2022 at 10:47 am

Richard is a registered user.

It would be good if Dr Cody could define exactly what constitutes " undue risk" for "vulnerable people.


Posted by Tom
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Feb 9, 2022 at 10:57 am

Tom is a registered user.

Serious question: which elected officials in Santa Clara county have oversight here and would be help accountable for these decisions?

I have never voted for candidates in this part of the ballot but I want to make sure I vote against these officials in the future.


Posted by Forever Name
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2022 at 11:08 am

Forever Name is a registered user.

Why are people not protesting in the streets about Cody's announcement? Write your Supervisor! Write your state Assemblyman!

SCCPHD Sarah Cody gave NO target date or NO metrics for when SCC would end its mandate. This is unconscionable to continue the mask mandate, for adults and for kids in school, with NO transparency and NO data to support this announcement, and completely OUT OF LINE with the CA and the rest of the Bay Area.

SCC has an 85 percent vaccination rate. Cody wasn’t even transparent about the VERY LOW hospitalization rate (currently at 0.02 percent!), using cases as an excuse. Other Bay Area county health directors, like CA Marin County’s health director, are no longer using “case rates” to determine intervention metrics. Which makes sense. They are focusing solely on vaccination rate and hospitalization rate. Marin County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis told SFGATE in January his county will no longer be using case rates to set public policy

Cody has made a farce out of public health, and lost all credibility over the past two years with her overly strict and over reaching mandates, and this latest announcement is no exception. The County Supervisors should be governing after two years of a County Health Care Director running the show and have failed to push back on Cody.


Posted by vmshadle
a resident of Meadow Park
on Feb 9, 2022 at 11:39 am

vmshadle is a registered user.

Forever Name, do you have an MD? A degree in infectious diseases epidemiology? Are you a virologist? If so, please present the data that shows that you are right and Dr. Cody is wrong.

Your complaints appear to be driven by personal or perhaps political preferences and not guided by science. Are you willing to risk further morbidity and mortality in the event you are wrong, or does it not matter unless morbidity and mortality affect you or your family?


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2022 at 11:55 am

Bystander is a registered user.

This is political posturing to the nth degree. We know that if it is safe in the rest of the Bay Area to wear a mask then it can't be more dangerous in Santa Clara. After next week, any business that refuses to let me in without a mask will be told that I will take my business to San Mateo.

We are being treated like political pawns and it is time to rebel. Businesses will see their customer/client base vanish if they adhere to this policy. Time to wake up.


Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 9, 2022 at 11:55 am

Anonymous is a registered user.

Ok, with undocumented newcomers forever arriving in east San Jose, a locality in Santa Clara County that has had high Covid-19, then “the metrics” will never allow us all over this large county to remove our masks!
It’s just like the Palo Alto water treatment plant virus level sampling research: if ONE city in another county - East Palo Alto, very likely based on facts - has higher Covid-19 virus, then we ALL (the other cities in this water treatment system, Palo Alto, Los Altos Hills, etc.) will be labeled as having “high virus level found in sewage.”
Great.
Meanwhile, Governor Newsom, LA Mayor Garcetti party maskless in (presumably at least partly indoor) luxury boxes at the LA football stadium.
I’m only referencing California here.
I do not take risks and have been a heavy mask-wearer since March 2020. I just ask for coherency and consistency in politician’s and public health officials’ dictates.


Posted by Leland J.
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 9, 2022 at 12:17 pm

Leland J. is a registered user.

Who elected Sara Cody? No one!

You don't need an MD to know that Santa Clara County, and all of the Bay Area, has one of the highest urban vax rates in the country, and that hospitalizations have not been a problem here for many months. Most rational people would look at that and conclude that the burden should shift onto the small minority who are afraid or unvaxxed - to mask or stay home or isolate themselves. It should not fall on the 93% of residents who have done all the right things and put up with this nonsense for too long.

[Portion removed.]

If you don't like it, then write your Supervisors and think very carefully about who you vote for in the next election. I know I will.


Posted by Shawn
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2022 at 12:27 pm

Shawn is a registered user.

I do work in the Virology lab at Stanford and she is “unsubstantiated “ in her accesment and Iam done listening to her. We are vaccinated and boostered and have jumped through all the hoops and [portion removed] the State agree. Whose the minority opinion here ?


Posted by krobinson
a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2022 at 12:32 pm

krobinson is a registered user.

Actually, Sara Cody DID lay out metrics - very clear ones - for lifting the mask mandate. And the article spells them out.

“Santa Clara County has already met one of the three metrics for lifting the indoor masking requirement: 80% of all county residents are fully vaccinated. The local indoor masking requirement will be lifted when the remaining two metrics are met: COVID-19 hospitalizations in the county are low and stable, in the judgment of the health officer; and the seven-day average of new cases per day is at or below 550 for at least a week.“

The NYT shows that 4 of our 7 county hospitals have either 0 or 1 ICU bed available, which is not great.

Overall, our county has done well during this pandemic under Cody, and I for one am extremely grateful to her and to the majority of county residents who simply followed the guidance - wear a mask, get vaccinated. We’ve had well under HALF the deaths per capita of the US average.


Posted by Shawn
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2022 at 12:39 pm

Shawn is a registered user.

The key phrase that I have trouble with is
“In the JUDGEMENT of the health officer “
That’s my point , it’s a “judgement” ? Not concrete anything , it’s a judgement


Posted by Leland J.
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 9, 2022 at 12:55 pm

Leland J. is a registered user.

@krobinson: You're right. Sara Cody has always set "standards". The problem is, her standards are both impossible to reach and they bear little or no correlation to actual risk presently in our community.

That's not setting standards, and it's not going to persuade people to do the right thing. It's a punitive, cynical attempt to say "I know better than anyone"... even her colleagues around the world who now acknowledge that this draconian approach isn't necessary.

You're entitled to wear a mask forever if you want. You're entitled to stay home and hide if that makes you feel safe. But the rest of society should no longer have to bear that burden; we've done our part.


Posted by krobinson
a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2022 at 12:55 pm

krobinson is a registered user.

Sara Cody’s judgment - as well as the good judgment of our county residents in following guidelines - has resulted in our county having a relatively low per capita death toll of 108 for every 100,000 residents. That’s compared to 207 for every 100,000 in California, and 273 for every 100,000 in the country on average (as of today). Based on those results, I am grateful for her good judgment, and I trust it.


Posted by Shawn
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2022 at 12:56 pm

Shawn is a registered user.

But that doesn’t make it right now !


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2022 at 1:32 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

[Portion removed.]

It will be the case that those who are scared to unmask will stay in Santa Clara where they feel their fears are justified, and those who are prepared to return to a normal lifestyle aware of the situation will drive north to San Mateo to live free. Probably those who live in SMC and are scared will drive down to SCC, or else take a risk by continuing to wear their masks even when they don't have to.

Freedom of choice does mean that we can take our business to where we feel we are safe. Freedom of choice does mean that we can take off our masks at our own risk.

Remember, we were told the vaccines would protect us. They are still protecting us because if we do get omicron it will be mild. We are not small children needing to be told what to do by parental figures. We are adults able to think for ourselves and decide for ourselves whether we want to continue wearing masks or not. The time is here, we are ready, we will vote for freedom by using our feet or cars.


Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 9, 2022 at 2:07 pm

rsmithjr is a registered user.

I am optimistic that things may be going well with the pandemic at this point. However, this is hardly certain. After two years, I am not willing to jeopardize the current possible success with precipitous actions.

Mu daughter is a doctor at Stanford, and has been on the COVID response team since early 2020. She is sick of COVID and doesn't want to hear about it again ever. Yet, she knows that we have to follow a careful path and not risk the good that we have done.

Thank you, Dr. Cody and other public health professionals, for your willingness to stay on your course and be careful.


Posted by Neal
a resident of Community Center
on Feb 9, 2022 at 4:42 pm

Neal is a registered user.

I applaud Dr. Cody's decision. Doctors make judgement calls everyday. Medicine is a science and an art. If doctors and nurses can wear masks all day long without complaining, it shouldn't be such a burden for the rest of us. There's an additional benefit. Has anyone noticed that all the masking has muted the flu season for a second year in a row?


Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Feb 9, 2022 at 6:27 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

How frustrating for the residents of SCC. It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. Dr. Cody has been the "architect of lockdown" since day one. A lot of focus on physical health throughout the pandemic and not enough focus on mental well-being. Even the CDC has admitted that cloth masks are ineffective for covid and N95 masks were discouraged for the general public because the supplies were needed for medical professionals. Unless you're wearing an N95 that is properly fitted for your face... your mask is ineffective. And N95s are too uncomfortable to wear for the average person, even though they're no longer in short supply. [Portion removed.]


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2022 at 6:29 pm

John B. Sails is a registered user.

I do not believe that after more than 2 years, we should still be required to wear a mask, even if vaxxed multiple times with boosters, and even if it decreases the incidents of the flu (which has its own shot). I do not believe that Santa Clara County should be the only county in the Bay Area which is NOT following the suggestion of our elected governor--that the mask mandate should not be renewed next week; and as supported by local infectious disease specialists
Dr. Gandhi and Dr. Chin-Hong, even as we have a higher vax rate etc. than some of these other counties. This decision causes Mom and Pop businesses to needlessly close and wrecks mental health, resulting in more crimes. Dr. Cody is wrong. I dissent.


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2022 at 7:51 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

Since the first part of my post was deleted it is probably not OK to blame an individual. However I will blame politics. This is purely political in my opinion. It is no less virulant in San Mateo than it is in Santa Clara. We have done our part of the two weeks to flatten the curve, we have done our vaccinations, we have worn our masks, and yet we are being punished.

Our good behavior is being rewarded with further punishment.


Posted by Leland J.
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 9, 2022 at 7:53 pm

Leland J. is a registered user.

@Neal: Masks *may* be a factor in mild flu seasons, but no one truly knows that, not even the beloved and omnipotent Dr. Cody. You're using conjecture and selective reasoning to support a hypothesis.

Even if it's true, extolling the perceived virtues of eternal masking hardly justifies a mandate! If you feel good wearing a mask, knock yourself out. If you feel safer staying home forever, go for it. The rest of us have had enough.


Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Feb 9, 2022 at 10:01 pm

chris is a registered user.

What is wrong with wearing a mask for adults? The complainers give no substantive reason, just a whine.

The complainers also don't seem to understand that Santa Clara County has almost 500 people in the hospital with COVID. That is higher than the number for almost 90% of the pandemic.

Can the whiners wait another month when hopefully the hospitals will be much less crowded?
You have worn a mask for almost 2 years? Why go out now and become a superspreader of omicron? Your "freedom" is putting the rest of us in "prison".


Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Feb 9, 2022 at 10:15 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Jane
a resident of Ventura
on Feb 9, 2022 at 10:31 pm

Jane is a registered user.

Of course this was to be expected. Letting go of that power is painful.

We'll just continue to do our business in other counties.


Posted by Mary
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 9, 2022 at 10:57 pm

Mary is a registered user.

@Chris said "Can the whiners wait another month when hopefully..." I seem to remember (it was such a long time ago) something about "just two weeks to flatten the curve..." We've had enough.


Posted by Chris
a resident of University South
on Feb 9, 2022 at 11:59 pm

Chris is a registered user.

Mary,

The pandemic has been drawn out by so many people going maskless and gathering in groups. The percentage of the population dying from COVID in the US is one of the worst in the world.

The reason has more to do with the lack of common sense than it does with Dr. Cody. Many of the posters here are prime exhibits of this country’s failure.


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 10, 2022 at 6:05 am

John B. Sails is a registered user.

I really don't see the problem, Chris, with personal choice for yourself. I am told that the vax is very good and with the boost even better. I am told that wearing masks is also very effective and when you double mask and/or wear the right one, such extraordinary effectiveness ensues. So, if you are choosing to do these things, why would you worry? [Portion removed.]

The population in the US dying in comparison to other countries in the world, may have had something to do with how many obese people we have, and/or the terrible food choices and exercise choices we make. Some states did better than us with less Covid lock-down, vax, and masking rules. This contradicts your thesis. I personally liked some graph I saw, forget where, that ranked all the states in not only health, but also education and business. I realize many people who live and post here are older, so not in school and richer, so not as concerned maybe about business. However, these are important too. Again, all we are saying is to respect our choices [portion removed.]


Posted by Mary
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 10, 2022 at 8:13 am

Mary is a registered user.

@Chris: "The pandemic has been drawn out by so many people going maskless and gathering in groups."

You're just making stuff up. The trends of all the different counties, states, and countries, which have had a wide variety of mask and gathering rules, does not indicate this.


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2022 at 8:52 am

Bystander is a registered user.

Our common sense has completely gone. If it is safe to go maskless in San Mateo, then why is it not safe in Santa Clara?

Many people cross the county border every day, some work in one and live in the other. People mix with residents of the other county also for various reasons. The county border is not going to prevent anything. Here in Palo Alto, north SCC, we have more in common with Menlo Park, rather than Gilroy!

The fact that we have to get below 500 cases a day to go maskless then we may never get there this year! This is positive test results, not people who are seriously ill. People are testing more due to jobs and schools. It means that some are testing positive and have no symptoms. They are not sick. They should not be called "a case", just a positive test. Even the tests are not as accurate as we imagine. Farm workers in rural SCC areas are not likely to pass on to Palo Alto.

Think for yourselves and don't assume.


Posted by staying home
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 10, 2022 at 2:30 pm

staying home is a registered user.

Is it really that hard to wear a mask? We've been doing it for ~2 years at this point, it is likely only going to be another couple weeks (based on trends). I don't enjoy wearing it just as much as the next person, but I don't mind doing the needful. Many major employers in the area are still in some WFH state (Google, Facebook, Intuit, LinkedIn, Amazon, Salesforce). Please explain the civil libery issue at hand.


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 10, 2022 at 4:46 pm

John B. Sails is a registered user.

The Civil Liberties issue at hand, is as follows:

one side is asking, 'what's so hard about wearing a mask'? when no one is stopping them from doing so. What they mean is that because they wear a mask, they assert the right to demand their choice be followed by others.

Today, a democratic governor in Nevada decided that the mask mandate is over, so you can go into a casino now without one. Next week, our California governor, also a democrat and democratically elected, endorses the same. All counties in the Bay Area have agreed, except one, Santa Clara, on the decision made by one woman who is not democratically elected, and who as recently as November, used the word "indefinitely" to describe how long the mask mandate should last.

There are many obvious contradictions and problems with this. Palo Alto must wear a mask, but next Wednesday, we can drive to East Palo Alto or Menlo Park, and take off our mask in Home Depot or Safeway but we can't in our (almost certainly, more-vaxxed) town. Is this fairness and equality under the law?

Finally, as bystander points out, the metric Dr. Cody [portion removed] choice for ending the mandate: less than 500 new case positives, is meaningless because of the many many many more tests with positive result for the least fatal variant so far, so many are asymptomatic. As I stated above, both local infectious disease specialists who are constantly on TV: Dr. Gandhi and Dr. Chin-Hong of UCSF, support the change based on our current situation, that is, how much better it is now than 2 years ago. No one is going to give us an award for forced masking the longest.


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 10, 2022 at 7:04 pm

John B. Sails is a registered user.

The PRC has very strict COVID lock-down rules with much less cases and deaths than the US. However, they are a totalitarian nation which does not place the priorities we do on civil liberties.


Posted by Jeremy Erman
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 10, 2022 at 11:25 pm

Jeremy Erman is a registered user.

With respect, people here have short memories. The state government announced over a month ago (January 5th) that it planned to lift its indoor mask mandate on February 15th.

Web Link

The statewide mandate was implemented in December due to rising cases, but for months before that, Santa Clara County and other Bay Area counties were under there own mask mandate, even though most of the state restrictions were lifted back in June 2021 (the Bay Area reinstituted a mask mandate in August 2021).

Given that history, I'm not sure why people would be surprised that Santa Clara County isn't immediately lifting its mask mandate along with the state's. Also, we were the first county in the entire United States to announce a general lockdown, so no one should be surprised that our county health officials are still being more cautious than the rest of the state--or the country.


Posted by staying home
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 11, 2022 at 10:49 am

staying home is a registered user.

Is comparing the Santa Clara mask mandate to what the PRC is doing is appropriate? Are you worried we'll be seeing regulations on how many children we'll be allowed? Or a crack down on protests as we see in Hong Kong? Or the removal of historical events like Tiananmen Square?


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2022 at 3:09 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Having spoken with people over the past several days, I think that it is unlikely that anyone will police this and it will fade out.

Retail stores are not going to turn away customers who are not wearing a mask. They are not going to turn away business. If one person tells another to wear a mask a possible argument may start, but nobody will likely intervene. Nobody will call the police to report someone not wearing a mask. The police do not have the person power to investigate.

With no policing, no follow through, and no motivation, it will likely become a non-issue. Those who want to wear masks will continue to do so. Those who don't want to wear them won't.


Posted by TimR
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 11, 2022 at 6:55 pm

TimR is a registered user.

For everyone complaining about this who lives in Palo Alto, are you really unable just to go the Menlo Park and do everything that needs doing without a mask? It's a great way to get out and do new things, if you've gotten into the habit (like I did) of always just going to businesses in Palo Alto. So forget about Cody and SCC, and go explore (and vote with your pocketbook)!


Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Feb 11, 2022 at 8:09 pm

chris is a registered user.

Bystander,

For the next few weeks, people who frequent places where masks are required should be prepared to wear masks. Your are sadly mistaken if you think the majority of people share your view. The business owners who ignore the law will suffer the loss of business from the mask-wearing as well as be liable for legal consequences.


Posted by John
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 12, 2022 at 5:40 am

John is a registered user.

The comments advocating for sanity and appropriate risk taking would have been banned 4 months ago. It’s been quite an education watching people’s Overton window slowly shift.


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2022 at 11:57 am

Bystander is a registered user.

Two weeks and Omicron is waning. Still no news about SCC scrapping mask mandates.

Are people still wearing them, is there any enforcement, are people doing business in other counties?

Time for some updates.