For Immediate ReleaseDecember 04, 2020
Marin, other jurisdictions not waiting until local hospitals are near crisis to act
The following is a joint statement from the counties of Marin, Contra Costa, Alameda, San Francisco, and Santa Clara, plus the City of Berkeley.
UPDATE: This provides clarification on Stay-Home Order changes in Marin County in light of Marin being the only Bay Area county to transition to the Stay-Home Order from Blueprint Tier 2 (red) status. In sum:
• Indoor gyms & fitness centers (including yoga and dance studios) must close indoor operations under the new order. Currently, Marin gyms and fitness studios are open at 10% capacity because of Marin’s Tier 2 status. This also includes any other industries that follow the state’s guidance for gyms & fitness studios, such as youth sports.
• Short-term rental operations are included under hotel and lodging operations and must restrict operations per state guidance.
• The new order does NOT modify existing state or county guidance regarding TK-12 schools. Schools currently open to in-classroom instruction or have plans to reopen prior to Tuesday, December 8, are able to continue to provide in-person instruction on school sites. All schools that have not yet reopened for in-person instruction are able to continue to serve small cohorts of students (e.g., students with disabilities) following state public health guidance. Schools wishing to reopen to in-person classroom instruction after the December 8 and for the duration of the order must apply for a waiver via the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
• The new Stay-Home Order goes into effect for Marin County at noon Tuesday, December 8.
On December 3, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that all sectors other than retail and essential operations would be closed in regions of the state where less than 15% of intensive care unit (ICU) beds are available under a new Regional Stay-Home Order. Although health officials throughout the Bay Area are glad to see the state take action in light of the rapidly escalating surge in hospitalizations statewide, many believe even more aggressive action is necessary in the Bay Area to slow the surge and prevent our local hospitals from being overwhelmed.
Rather than waiting until ICU bed availability reaches critical levels and delaying closures that are inevitable, the Public Health Officers for the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and Santa Clara, as well as the City of Berkeley, jointly announced they will implement the state’s Regional Stay-Home Order right away.
“It takes several weeks for new restrictions to slow rising hospitalizations and waiting until only 15% of a region’s ICU beds are available is just too late,” said San Francisco Health Officer Dr. Tomás Aragon. “Many heavily impacted parts of our region already have less than 15% of ICU beds available, and the time to act is now.”
“We are seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations here in Contra Costa County and across our region,” said Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Christopher Farnitano. “The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in our county has doubled in just the past couple of weeks, and we are at risk of exceeding our hospital capacity later this month if current trends continue.”
“We cannot wait until after we have driven off the cliff to pull the emergency break,” said Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody. “We understand that the closures under the state order will have a profound impact on our local businesses. However, if we act quickly, we can both save lives and reduce the amount of time these restrictions have to stay in place, allowing businesses and activities to reopen sooner.”
“Rising hospitalization rates across the region threaten not only our community members with severe COVID-19, but anyone who may need care because of a heart attack, stroke, accident, or other critical health need,” said Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss. “By acting together now we will have the greatest impact on the surge and save more lives.”
“Each of us can fight the spread,” said Dr. Lisa B. Hernandez, the City of Berkeley Health Officer. “Keep your family safe by avoiding even small gatherings outside of your household and not traveling. We don’t want holiday gatherings and travel to create a spike of cases on top of the surge we’re already seeing.”
“Although Marin has fared better than some other counties in our region over the last few weeks, we know it is only a matter of time before rising case and hospitalization put pressure on our hospitals, too,” said Marin County Health Officer Dr. Matthew Willis. “We must act now and must act together to ensure all hospitals in the Bay Area have the capacity they need to care for our residents.”
Consistent with the state framework, the six jurisdictions are working to ensure that all sectors have at least 48-hour notice of the closures. Most of the Bay Area Health Officers will implement the state’s Regional Stay-Home Order as of Sunday December 6. In Alameda County, it is scheduled to take effect on Monday, December 7, and Marin County’s order will take effect at noon Tuesday, December 8. The new restrictions will remain in place until January 4, 2021.
The order instructs Bay Area residents to stay at home as much as possible and limit mixing with other households, which can lead to the spread of COVID-19. All sectors other than retail and essential operations must be closed. Access to (and travel for) critical services and outdoor activities to preserve physical and mental health are allowed.
Beginning at noon Tuesday, December 8, the following sectors in Marin County must close:
The following sectors will have additional modifications (in addition to 100% masking and physical distancing):
The following sectors are allowed to remain open when a remote option is not possible. Those that remain open must have appropriate infectious disease preventative measures in place, including 100% masking and physical distancing:
In addition, the Stay-Home Order does not modify existing state or Marin guidance regarding TK-12 schools. Schools that are currently open to in-classroom instructions or have plans to reopen to in-classroom instruction prior to Tuesday, December 8, are able to continue to provide in-person instruction on school sites. All schools that have not yet reopened for in-person instruction are able to continue to serve small cohorts of students (e.g., students with disabilities) following CDPH Guidance. Schools wishing to reopen to in-person classroom instruction during the timeframe of the Stay-Home Order must apply for a waiver via the CDPH.
“We recognize that public health is about community wellbeing and that includes the economic health of the community,” Willis said. “And as we take this step, we want to remind people to find ways to support their local businesses in a safe way, doing it from home as much as possible, but utilizing the online or curbside pick-up options that our local stores may offer.”
See the sector closures and restrictions on activity under the state’s Regional Stay-Home Order. MarinRecovers.com will be updated by Tuesday, December 8, to reflect the new restrictions.
Dr. Matthew WillisPublic Health OfficerHealth and Human Services
3240 Kerner Blvd.San Rafael, CA 94901(415) 473-4163Email: Dr. Matthew WillisMarin HHS website