News

Despite progress, county supervisors say they must 'stay the course' against coronavirus

Mitchoff: 'We understand that people are frustrated and angry .. but we need to stay the course'

Contra Costa County health officials on Tuesday credited strong compliance with shelter-in-place orders for enabling relaxation of some of those rules as part of an extended novel coronavirus health order expected to be made public Wednesday.

Those officials also said this is no time to let up with that social isolating in the fight against the spread of the virus, despite the disruption and pain it has brought.

"It's also done exactly what it was intended to do," to flatten the curve of infections and hospitalizations across Northern California, Anna Roth, the county's health director, told the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors Tuesday. "We've led the way on the best types of responses. We are saving lives."

Neither she nor anyone else at Tuesday's board meeting revealed what restrictions will ease up as part of the new joint health order to be issued by Contra Costa, Alameda, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, along with the city of Berkeley.

The order extends the region's shelter-in-place order from May 3 through May 31. Mention was made Tuesday, however, of allowing some "lower-risk activities" to resume.

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Contra Costa County, as of Tuesday morning, has had 842 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus since March 3, when the first case in the county was reported. There have been 25 deaths in Contra Costa County from the coronavirus.

Roth said that since the first shelter-in-place orders took effect last month, high level of compliance among Bay Area residents with those orders, plus quick action by county health departments around the Bay Area, have helped minimize the spread of the coronavirus.

But several officials stressed that fighting the coronavirus is a marathon, and not a sprint.

Roth said two keys to resuming a semblance of "normal" life is more testing and a robust "contact tracing" effort to identify people who may have come into contact with an infected person, and learn more about those contacts to test those contacts for coronavirus, and isolate them if necessary.

Roth said county health workers are testing about 300 people a day. That number needs to increase eightfold and be at about 2,400 tests per day to glean enough information about infections to best use treatment resources and, ultimately, allow the reopening of the area economy.

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County Administrator David Twa told the supervisors Tuesday that it could well take 18 months for regional employment levels to return to the levels of late 2019. And whatever "normal" was then, Twa said, will almost certainly be different going forward.

To adhere to that timeline, Twa said, "It's important to stay the course" and maintain the shelter-in-place order through at least the end of May.

Supervisors echoed that sentiment Tuesday. Supervisor Karen Mitchoff said she knows the success Contra Costa and other Bay Area counties have had in minimizing infections and deaths from the coronavirus will prompt calls to reopen the economy and society in general.

Not so fast, she and others stressed.

"We understand that people are frustrated and angry," Mitchoff said. "But we need to stay the course."

— Bay City News Service

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Despite progress, county supervisors say they must 'stay the course' against coronavirus

Mitchoff: 'We understand that people are frustrated and angry .. but we need to stay the course'

Uploaded: Tue, Apr 28, 2020, 4:00 pm

Contra Costa County health officials on Tuesday credited strong compliance with shelter-in-place orders for enabling relaxation of some of those rules as part of an extended novel coronavirus health order expected to be made public Wednesday.

Those officials also said this is no time to let up with that social isolating in the fight against the spread of the virus, despite the disruption and pain it has brought.

"It's also done exactly what it was intended to do," to flatten the curve of infections and hospitalizations across Northern California, Anna Roth, the county's health director, told the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors Tuesday. "We've led the way on the best types of responses. We are saving lives."

Neither she nor anyone else at Tuesday's board meeting revealed what restrictions will ease up as part of the new joint health order to be issued by Contra Costa, Alameda, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, along with the city of Berkeley.

The order extends the region's shelter-in-place order from May 3 through May 31. Mention was made Tuesday, however, of allowing some "lower-risk activities" to resume.

Contra Costa County, as of Tuesday morning, has had 842 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus since March 3, when the first case in the county was reported. There have been 25 deaths in Contra Costa County from the coronavirus.

Roth said that since the first shelter-in-place orders took effect last month, high level of compliance among Bay Area residents with those orders, plus quick action by county health departments around the Bay Area, have helped minimize the spread of the coronavirus.

But several officials stressed that fighting the coronavirus is a marathon, and not a sprint.

Roth said two keys to resuming a semblance of "normal" life is more testing and a robust "contact tracing" effort to identify people who may have come into contact with an infected person, and learn more about those contacts to test those contacts for coronavirus, and isolate them if necessary.

Roth said county health workers are testing about 300 people a day. That number needs to increase eightfold and be at about 2,400 tests per day to glean enough information about infections to best use treatment resources and, ultimately, allow the reopening of the area economy.

County Administrator David Twa told the supervisors Tuesday that it could well take 18 months for regional employment levels to return to the levels of late 2019. And whatever "normal" was then, Twa said, will almost certainly be different going forward.

To adhere to that timeline, Twa said, "It's important to stay the course" and maintain the shelter-in-place order through at least the end of May.

Supervisors echoed that sentiment Tuesday. Supervisor Karen Mitchoff said she knows the success Contra Costa and other Bay Area counties have had in minimizing infections and deaths from the coronavirus will prompt calls to reopen the economy and society in general.

Not so fast, she and others stressed.

"We understand that people are frustrated and angry," Mitchoff said. "But we need to stay the course."

— Bay City News Service

Comments

g-man
Danville
on Apr 29, 2020 at 8:28 pm
g-man, Danville
on Apr 29, 2020 at 8:28 pm

they're likely thinking about their liability. Ridiculous to have kept golf courses and the like closed. Phooey.


Rick
Danville
on May 1, 2020 at 10:31 am
Rick, Danville
on May 1, 2020 at 10:31 am

Variables are and constants aren’t. So, if we start there, our betters at the county and Gov Gav have successfully identified a correlation. They shouldn't assume it lasts forever in either the positive or negative direction. Linear relationships are almost always only linear in a limited region of variables. It's time to think of the consequences of decisions - it's not, so agonizingly simplistic & euphemistic, 'if we save just one life'. Rather, it's what is good for everyone (aka, "the majority") for the long term. We must stop running over the peeps while the politicos are circling the wagons. Open up, mask/distance, monitor what happens, react accordingly.



Matthew
Danville
on May 1, 2020 at 11:18 am
Matthew, Danville
on May 1, 2020 at 11:18 am

Rick,
Just look towards New Jersey with a population of 9 million they had 458 deaths yesterday. We have a population 39 million and 90 deaths yesterday. We do not need to risk our lives to see the future our future is happening in states like New York and New Jersey if we do not continue to shelter in place. We should be proud as the state with the largest population we do not have the highest daily death rate. But Rick if you are bothered by California not having the highest daily death rate then yes it is time to test the waters and see if we can become number one.


Rick
Danville
on May 1, 2020 at 3:04 pm
Rick, Danville
on May 1, 2020 at 3:04 pm

Matthew - if sheltering in place works for you, great. My position is that it's time - for those with no symptoms and who choose - to get out from under the "protective" wing of centralized control where it's getting more difficult to determine if "science and data" are more of an excuse than a reason. With reasonable precautions in place (masks, distancing, as I noted, above) it's time to move to revitalize ourselves and our economy. No one will force you out of your house.


Long Term Resident
Danville
on May 5, 2020 at 9:20 am
Long Term Resident, Danville
on May 5, 2020 at 9:20 am

It’s interesting how folks keep comparing us to New York and New Jersey. We don’t have nearly the population density of either. In addition, if you look at their numbers, many of the deaths occurred in care homes. We can learn from their experiences and adapt accordingly. In Contra Costa County, we have 1.15 million people, 947 cases, and 28 deaths. Some will say that’s because of our sheltering. That’s fine, but what level will it take to start opening up safely? We don’t need to all follow the same timeline as higher density locations like Los Angeles, San Francisco, etc. if it is safe for me to go into Costco or Hope Depot, I should be able to use the same practices and go to a small local business


Matthew
Danville
on May 5, 2020 at 12:32 pm
Matthew, Danville
on May 5, 2020 at 12:32 pm

Lets then compare Louisiana 4.6 million people with a population density of 105 people per square mile. Their current death rate is 454 per million population. California has 39 million people with a population density of 251 people per square mile. California current death rate of 59 people per million population. Death total for Louisiana is 2,115 vs California with 2,294. Louisiana median age is 36 which is the same as California.

If the California death rate moves up to match the death rate of Louisiana we will have 17706 deaths. We are not out of the woods no matter how tired we all are of shelter in place. The numbers do not show we are protected with a lower population density. California low death rate shows that shelter in place is effective and any changes will only move us closer to Louisiana death rate. In the end we are all humans that can die when exposed to this virus.


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