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By Diana Diamond

Coronavirus: Plan ahead now for a big outbreak

Uploaded: Mar 23, 2020

So here we are. Cuddled up in our homes, trying to stay isolated from each other, and being told by Governor Gavin Newsom that we may have some 25 million cases of the coronavirus here in California.

A frightening thought. So what will we do about it?

Well, if a lot of us are affected and staying at home infecting others in our family, maybe it’s time for our cities to start planning to have a well-staffed confinement center in our community – without building anything new.

How about using one or two of our schools in town for quarantine quarters? Schools are empty until September, Newsom declared, they have lots of classrooms that can be divided in half, if needed. They have bathrooms and staff rooms, and even large cafeterias that can prepare food that can be put into containers and distributed to patients.

We have a shortage of nurses and doctors, but maybe some medical retirees could be called back to help voluntarily at these quarantine schools. I know several physicians that might be willing to assist, with, of course, proper equipment, e.g., masks and gowns and medications and thermometers. The city could get behind this effort.

This concept would cost a whole lot less than building any new makeshift quarantine building; the patients would be indoors but with some outdoor space to roam around. Plus schools are located in every city, so designating one or two make them conveniently accessible. But if found feasible, and I think it is, we need to start planning for it now, finding out where to order cots and blankets and determine who could provide the food.

Other things:

Kudos to the city of Palo Alto that has a daily online coronavirus report site, filled with much-needed useful information. Well, it’s not exactly daily, as in seven days, but evidently Monday to Friday. Here’s last Friday’s site:
If that doesn’t work, try googling it.

I love the idea that some grocery stores are open typically from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for seniors-only purchases. For those people staying at home with limited cooking skills, I now am seeing a lot of local restaurants advertising that their menu items are now take-out – and can be accompanied with a glass of wine! Can city officials provide a website that these restaurants can register on so if a person wants take-out, he or she doesn’t have to look for a couple of ads? Each community could do this.

I still don’t have a mask. I’m not talking about the N95s, which must first go to the medical workers, but just an ordinary mask. I’ve checked with several pharmacies and am told they are not in yet, which gets me angry. We in Santa Clara County are one of the high-risk coronavirus hotspots in the country, and we don’t even have masks in our stores. We’ve been told they are only necessary if you have the virus symptoms, but I read elsewhere that even those little masks can be helpful. Perhaps the city could tell all of us when they are available, and give priority purchasing to those with medical issues (like diabetes and heart problems) and seniors.

BTW, I saw on one of the Neighborhood websites that “free masks” were being advertised, so I clicked on the site. Alas, the masks being offered were stage masks (like Phantom of the Opera) and Halloween masks. I laughed. But fool me once …

Another BTW, I am so grateful for the Internet, my TV, the telephone, video movies, and other forms of being socially alive. Here's one on museum tours around the world:

My nearby neighborhood had a virtual cocktail hour this week. Using Zoom, they all signed in, glasses of wine in hand, and just began to chat with each other. A good time was had by all for more than an hour, and people felt far less lonely.

So to stay socially alive, this is a good chance to share on this blog how you have been affected by the coronavirus warnings -- and the closing of so many stores.

Today I am going to clean two more closets. Yet I am feeling more isolated. How about you?