As we continue to follow Shelter in Place guidelines to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19, we are asking ourselves, “Is this working?” and “How much longer will we need to follow the guidelines?”
Dr. Sara Cody, the County’s Health Officer, answered the first question during a presentation to the Board of Supervisors meeting on April 7. The statistics that Dr. Cody shared with us show that, yes, it’s working.
The charts that she shared with us showed projections of the number of cases that would have been expected if we hadn’t taken any shelter in place measures. The projection is 50,000 cases by May 1, and we are currently at 1,380. Of course, these are estimates, but they are based on the growth we’ve seen since February 9 when we had just nine cases.
Another trend is the rates of cases doubling, which also has slowed down. In early March, the cases were doubling every three days. Now, that rate for the number of cases doubling is about every two weeks.
These trends are very positive and are the results of our following the shelter in place guidelines by staying at home, only going out when necessary, wearing masks when we’re around others and quarantining ourselves when we do not feel well.
But don’t think for a minute that it is time to relax our shelter in place measures. Dr. Cody says we still haven’t reached a peak in cases and the numbers would surely rise if we don’t follow the guidelines. So, keep up the good work.
How long will shelter in place last? That question is harder to answer.
Dr. Cody says public health officials would need to reach four targets before moving beyond the shelter in place phase:
- Our hospitals would have the capacity to treat everyone who needs care.
- We would have the ability to test broadly.
- We would be able to carefully investigate every case.
- And we would see a sustained reduction in cases for at least two weeks.
We’re not there yet, but we have seen encouraging signs. In the words of Dr. Cody, “There is a lot of uncertainty. We need to get comfortable with uncertainty. We’re in it for the long haul.”
To keep up with daily and accurate information provided by the Public Health Department on COVID-19, please visit sccphd.org/coronavirus.
The County has also called for a local inventory of personal protective equipment for health care workers and ventilators to prepare for a surge of cases. If you are an individual or business with a large quantity of gloves, N95 masks, safety goggles, hand sanitizer containers and any kind of ventilator, please visit sccphd.org/cv19ppe.
Thank you for uniting as a community to face this enormous public health challenge. I am very proud of the County’s response and the response of residents to this crisis. You are following the shelter in place guidelines, showing compassion to others and donating generously to coronavirus relief funds.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office at 408-299-5030 or email me at [email protected].
Supervisor Dave Cortese