County of Santa Clara Public Health Officer Issues New Health Order
Today, the County of Santa Clara Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody announced a new order that puts in place long-term risk reduction measures. The order allows certain additional activities to resume, but also puts in place significant additional containment measures to control the spread of COVID-19. Santa Clara County currently has fewer cases of COVID-19 per hundred thousand residents than any county in the Bay Area, and far fewer than many urban regions across the country. However, case counts in the County are rising, and the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 is also increasing.
“Our approach from the outset of the pandemic has been careful, based on constant assessments of relevant data, and also the evolving scientific understanding of the virus,” said County of Santa Clara Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody. “This new order marks the next stage in this consistent approach, reflects the reality that COVID-19 will be with us for a long time, and we need to adapt to that new reality. Today’s order offers a long-term containment strategy that we believe will need to remain in place for the coming months.”
Today’s action by Dr. Cody aligns with Governor Newsom’s announcement yesterday prohibiting certain activities in communities throughout the State because they create great risk of COVID-19 transmission. Those activities were never reopened in Santa Clara County, and they remain closed under the new order. The order must be approved by the State before it can take effect, under the “variance” process set forth in the State’s COVID-19 Roadmap.
Under the prior order, most businesses and activities in the community had been allowed to reopen. The new order allows other activities to resume, including hair and nail services, gyms, and small gatherings, but only with strict social distancing protocols in place, consistent use of face coverings, and significant capacity limits. It also requires all employers to immediately report cases of COVID-19 tied to their work places to local public health officials. The order continues to stress that we are all safest when we stay home, and that people over age 70 and those with serious underlying medical conditions should continue to leave home only for essential needs.
The order will go into effect on July 13, or as soon as State approval is granted, whichever is later. This timelines provides businesses that are not currently open time to prepare to operate safely, to train employees to comply with the strict social distancing protocols, and to submit to the County the detailed social distancing protocol the order requires all businesses to have in place. Until that time, the current shelter-in-place order remains in effect.