San Mateo County in 'state of emergency' due to coronavirus; 20 confirmed cases | News | Almanac Online |

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San Mateo County in 'state of emergency' due to coronavirus; 20 confirmed cases

 
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The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors on March 10 ratified and extended a proclamation of a state of emergency in the county due to the coronavirus risk as the county's chief health officer warned of "widespread community transmission" of the virus.

Dr. Scott Morrow, the county's health officer, updated his March 5 statement about the coronavirus threat today with a new message in which he said he now has "evidence of widespread community transmission of COVID-19."

The county's health department did not respond by late Tuesday afternoon to The Almanac's phone calls and emails requesting more information about the statement.

The health department's website as of Thursady afternoon (March 12) reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had confirmed 20 cases of the virus in the county.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously passed the declaration of an emergency, which will remain in effect for 30 days. At the end of that period, the board will decide whether to extend the emergency status.

"The moves make the County eligible for federal reimbursement for some costs associated with the response and additional flexibility for staffing and purchasing," according to a press release from the county issued this afternoon.

"The Board today also approved a resolution easing the ability of the County to hire retired public health and other nursing and medical assistant classifications," the release said.

No one in the county was available as of late afternoon to comment on what, if any, new steps to address the coronavirus threat might be put in place as a result of the emergency declaration.

The Almanac will update this story as more information becomes available.

Go here for San Mateo County health department updates on the virus.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by the Almanac, Mountain View Voice and Palo Alto Online here.

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Comments

28 people like this
Posted by Andre A
a resident of another community
on Mar 10, 2020 at 6:07 pm

SAN MATEO UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT has yet to be shut down despite the evidence of widespread community transmission. As a parent I feel dear in sending my children to school and I should have to worry about that, online school should be an option.


26 people like this
Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of another community
on Mar 10, 2020 at 8:07 pm

Andre A - agreed 100%. I am not sure why SMUHS district is still gambling on the health of our kids. Are they waiting for one kid or teacher to be tested positive in a school to suspend class? Then what? Do all teachers and kids come back home, potentially contagious? SMUHS, read/listen/watch the world news and take examples on what other countries are doing. The right thing for the schools, staff, teachers, kids AND the community is to ask everyone to stay home to reduce the risk of transmission and shorten the epidemic.


13 people like this
Posted by Lisa
a resident of another community
on Mar 10, 2020 at 10:58 pm

You could pull your child out and ask for work to be sent via email. I would imagine an exception would be made. Abcencess would most likely be excused with a drs.note sighting "protecting a compromised immune system with self quarantine".


22 people like this
Posted by Ron
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Mar 10, 2020 at 11:35 pm

Keeping the schools open at this point is irresponsible.
Unless we act immediately we are facing a large scale disaster.


13 people like this
Posted by In other words...
a resident of another community
on Mar 11, 2020 at 5:51 am

Web Link

please excuse the language (I did not make this site) but it looks like you have to be a bit blunt to convey how critical our collective response needs to be.


16 people like this
Posted by Concerned parent
a resident of another community
on Mar 11, 2020 at 8:40 am

SMUHS just put out the following yesterday:
Children do not seem nearly as susceptible to COVID-19.
The State and County Health are focusing on what they can do to help schools stay open.

SMUHS completely FAILED to recognize that while that may be true, young children and schools are the labs for spread of such a virus and children will unknowingly bring it home to infect the adults.


17 people like this
Posted by Mark
a resident of another community
on Mar 11, 2020 at 8:55 am

"The county's health department did not respond by late afternoon to The Almanac's phone calls and emails requesting more information about the statement."

Unbelievably irresponsible and stupid and issue a "state of emergency" and then not explain what this means in practical terms. Is this just political lip service to make it appear like the local government is doing something?


11 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 11, 2020 at 9:16 am

"SMUHS just put out the following yesterday:
Children do not seem nearly as susceptible to COVID-19."

There is no evidence to support this statement.

The evidence is that children show far fewer symptoms when infected with Covid 19.

Here is the CDC statement:
": Limited reports of children with COVID-19 in China have described cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting and diarrhea) have been reported in at least one child with COVID-19. These limited reports suggest that children with confirmed COVID-19 have generally presented with mild symptoms, and though severe complications (acute respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock) have been reported, they appear to be uncommon. "


Any infected person, including children, can infect others.


14 people like this
Posted by A Parent with Logic : D
a resident of another community
on Mar 11, 2020 at 9:22 am

Why don't you all just pull your own kids out? Problem solved. [Portion removed; be respectful of other posters.]

Hope you're offering babysitting services too!


12 people like this
Posted by ClimbingTheWalls
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Mar 11, 2020 at 11:49 am

This statement by the County Health Officer sounds stark raving mad. He plans NOT to slow the spread of the virus.:

I now have evidence of widespread community transmission of COVID-19 in San Mateo County. Under these circumstances, the actions advised in my March 5th statement below become that much more critical. The only way to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the light of having community transmission is to have everything in our society grind to a halt for an extended period of time, as you have seen done in other countries. All actions have consequences. At this moment, given what I know, I believe grinding everything to a halt would cause us more harm than good. If my opinion on this changes, I will update this statement.


15 people like this
Posted by Student
a resident of another community
on Mar 11, 2020 at 11:57 am

All concerned parents, you should email the school about your concerns. They will listen to parents more than the students. Thank you.


11 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 11, 2020 at 12:03 pm

The new, Covid-19 specific, Pandemic Influenza and Respiratory Illness Preparation and Response: A Citizen’s Guide Version 3.6 has just been released.

This Citizen’s Guide was written by citizens for citizens. It contains the nitty gritty of what each individual citizen can and should do both to prepare for and respond to the oncoming Covid-19 pandemic.

This Guide was carefully vetted by the world’s leading infectious disease experts and the forward is written by Dr. David L. Heymann (Former) World Health Organization, Executive Director, Communicable Diseases.

This Citizen’s Guide is NOT a government publication but it does reflect the best available scientific and medical advice.

Please read this guide carefully and share it with your family, friends, workmates and playmates. It is FREE to all. Please post it on web sites where others may download it. One site that has the file is:

Web Link

And consider printing a copy while internet access is still easily available and you still have paper.

To check for current updates to this manual, please visit {Web Link}


Corrections and Additional Acknowledgments
If you wish to correct an error in this manual or if you find material for which the original author or source is not properly acknowledged (an increasingly common and unavoidable problem in the age of multiple postings and of extracts that do not retain identification of the original source) please document your concern and email it to info@instedd.org.

Stay Safe,

Peter Carpenter




14 people like this
Posted by Art
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 11, 2020 at 1:32 pm

I suspect a significant factor going into whether a district decides to close its schools or not is financial. Districts are paid by the state on a per-pupil-attendance-day basis. Closing the schools would decrease revenue from the state without reducing expenses (personnel costs, leases, etc. all still need to be paid).

One thing the state could do is guarantee school funding through the crisis.


12 people like this
Posted by Be careful
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Mar 11, 2020 at 2:56 pm

70 of 175 attendees at a Biogen conference tested positive in MA. The virus spreads quickly so be careful and act on the side of caution.


8 people like this
Posted by Soccer mom
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 11, 2020 at 2:56 pm

I suspect a number of school districts cannot support remote/online learning or know they serve communities that do not have access to tools needed for such learning.


12 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 11, 2020 at 2:59 pm

Unless we act NOW we will be on the Italian Curve:

Web Link see #3

And here is a front line report from Italy:
Testimony of a surgeon working in Bergamo, in the heart of Italy's coronavirus outbreak

«In one of the non-stop e-mails that I receive from my hospital administration on a more than daily basis, there was a paragraph on "how to be responsible on social media", with some recommendations that we all can agree on. After thinking for a long time if and what to write about what's happening here, I felt that silence was not responsible. I will therefore try to convey to lay-people, those who are more distant from our reality, what we are experiencing in Bergamo during these Covid-19 pandemic days. I understand the need not to panic, but when the message of the danger of what is happening is not out, and I still see people ignoring the recommendations and people who gather together complaining that they cannot go to the gym or play soccer tournaments, I shiver. I also understand the economic damage and I am also worried about that. After this epidemic, it will be hard to start over.

Still, beside the fact that we are also devastating our national health system from an economic point of view, I want to point out that the public health damage that is going to invest the country is more important and I find it nothing short of "chilling" that new quarantine areas requested by the Region has not yet been established for the municipalities of Alzano Lombardo and Nembro (I would like to clarify that this is purely personal opinion). I myself looked with some amazement at the reorganization of the entire hospital in the previous week, when our current enemy was still in the shadows: the wards slowly "emptied", elective activities interrupted, intensive care unit freed to create as many beds as possible. Containers arriving in front of the emergency room to create diversified routes and avoid infections. All this rapid transformation brought in the hallways of the hospital an atmosphere of surreal silence and emptiness that we did not understand, waiting for a war that had yet to begin and that many (including me) were not so sure would never come with such ferocity (I open a parenthesis: all this was done in the shadows, and without publicity, while several newspapers had the courage to say that private health care was not doing anything).

I still remember my night shift a week ago spent without any rest, waiting for a call from the microbiology department. I was waiting for the results of a swab taken from the first suspect case in our hospital, thinking about what consequences it would have for us and the hospital. If I think about it, my agitation for one possible case seems almost ridiculous and unjustified, now that I have seen what is happening. Well, the situation is now nothing short of dramatic. No other words come to mind. The war has literally exploded and battles are uninterrupted day and night. One after the other, these unfortunate people come to the emergency room. They have far from the complications of a flu. Let's stop saying it's a bad flu. In my two years working in Bergamo, I have learned that the people here do not come to the emergency room for no reason. They did well this time too. They followed all the recommendations given: a week or ten days at home with a fever without going out to prevent contagion, but now they can't take it anymore. They don't breathe enough, they need oxygen. Drug therapies for this virus are few.

The course mainly depends on our organism. We can only support it when it can't take it anymore. It is mainly hoped that our body will eradicate the virus on its own, let's face it. Antiviral therapies are experimental on this virus and we learn its behavior day after day. Staying at home until the symptoms worsen does not change the prognosis of the disease. Now, however, that need for beds in all its drama has arrived. One after another, the departments that had been emptied are filling up at an impressive rate. The display boards with the names of the sicks, of different colors depending on the department they belong to, are now all red and instead of the surgical procedure, there is the diagnosis, which is always the same: bilateral interstitial pneumonia. Now, tell me which flu virus causes such a rapid tragedy.

Because that's the difference (now I get a little technical): in classical flu, besides that it infects much less population over several months, cases are complicated less frequently: only when the virus has destroyed the protective barriers of our airways and as such it allows bacteria (which normally resident in the upper airways) to invade the bronchi and lungs, causing a more serious disease. Covid 19 causes a banal flu in many young people, but in many elderly people (and not only) a real SARS because it invades the alveoli of the lungs directly, and it infects them making them unable to perform their function. The resulting respiratory failure is often serious and after a few days of hospitalization, the simple oxygen that can be administered in a ward may not be enough. Sorry, but to me, as a doctor, it's not reassuring that the most serious are mainly elderly people with other pathologies. The elderly population is the most represented in our country and it is difficult to find someone who, above 65 years of age, does not take at least a pill for high blood pressure or diabetes.

I can also assure you that when you see young people who end up intubated in the ICU, pronated or worse, in ECMO (a machine for the worst cases, which extracts the blood, re-oxygenates it and returns it to the body, waiting for the lungs to hopefully heal), all this confidence for your young age goes away. And while there are still people on social media who boast of not being afraid by ignoring the recommendations, protesting that their normal lifestyle habits have "temporarily" halted, the epidemiological disaster is taking place. And there are no more surgeons, urologists, orthopedists, we are only doctors who suddenly become part of a single team to face this tsunami that has overwhelmed us.

The cases multiply, up to a rate of 15-20 hospitalizations a day all for the same reason. The results of the swabs now come one after the other: positive, positive, positive. Suddenly the emergency room is collapsing. Emergency provisions are issued: help is needed in the emergency room. A quick meeting to learn how the to use to emergency room EHR and a few minutes later I'm already downstairs, next to the warriors on the war front. The screen of the PC with the chief complaint is always the same: fever and respiratory difficulty, fever and cough, respiratory insufficiency etc ... Exams, radiology always with the same sentence: bilateral interstitial pneumonia. All needs to be hospitalized. Some already needs to be intubated, and goes to the ICU. For others, however, it is late. ICU is full, and when ICUs are full, more are created. Each ventilator is like gold: those in the operating rooms that have now suspended their non-urgent activity are used and the OR become a an ICU that did not exist before. I found it amazing, or at least I can speak for Humanitas Gavazzeni (where I work), how it was possible to put in place in such a short time a deployment and a reorganization of resources so finely designed to prepare for a disaster of this magnitude. And every reorganization of beds, wards, staff, work shifts and tasks is constantly reviewed day after day to try to give everything and even more. Those wards that previously looked like ghosts are now saturated, ready to try to give their best for the sick, but exhausted. The staff is exhausted. I saw fatigue on faces that didn't know what it was despite the already grueling workloads they had. I have seen people still stop beyond the times they used to stop already, for overtime that was now habitual. I saw solidarity from all of us, who never failed to go to our internist colleagues to ask "what can I do for you now?" or "leave that admission to me, i will take care of it." Doctors who move beds and transfer patients, who administer therapies instead of nurses. Nurses with tears in their eyes because we are unable to save everyone and the vital signs of several patients at the same time reveal an already marked destiny. There are no more shifts, schedules.

Social life is suspended for us. I have been separated for a few months, and I assure you that I have always done my best to constantly see my son even on the day after a night shift, without sleeping and postponing sleep until when I am without him, but for almost 2 weeks I have voluntarily not seen neither my son nor my family members for fear of infecting them and in turn infecting an elderly grandmother or relatives with other health problems. I'm happy with some photos of my son that I look at between tears and a few video calls. So you should be patient too, you can't go to the theater, museums or gym. Try to have mercy on that myriad of older people you could exterminate. It is not your fault, I know, but of those who put it in your head that you are exaggerating and even this testimony may seem just an exaggeration for those who are far from the epidemic, but please, listen to us, try to leave the house only to indispensable things. Do not go en masse to make stocks in supermarkets: it is the worst thing because you concentrate and the risk of contacts with infected people who do not know they are infected. You can go there without a rush. Maybe if you have a normal mask (even those that are used to do certain manual work), put it on. Don't look for ffp2 or ffp3. Those should serve us and we are beginning to struggle to find them. By now we have had to optimize their use only in certain circumstances, as the WHO recently recommended in view of their almost ubiquitous running low. Oh yes, thanks to the shortage of certain protection devices, many colleagues and I are certainly exposed despite all the other means of protection we have. Some of us have already become infected despite the protocols. Some infected colleagues also have infected relatives and some of their family members are already struggling between life and death. We are where your fears could make you stay away. Try to make sure you stay away.

Tell your family members who are elderly or with other illnesses to stay indoors. Bring him the groceries please. We have no alternative. It's our job. Indeed what I do these days is not really the job I'm used to, but I do it anyway and I will like it as long as it responds to the same principles: try to make some sick people feel better and heal, or even just alleviate the suffering and the pain to those who unfortunately cannot heal. I don't spend a lot of words about the people who define us heroes these days and who until yesterday were ready to insult and report us. Both will return to insult and report as soon as everything is over. People forget everything quickly. And we're not even heroes these days. It's our job. We risked something bad every day before: when we put our hands in a belly full of someone's blood we don't even know if they have HIV or hepatitis C; when we do it even though we know they have HIV or hepatitis C; when we stick ourselves during an operation on a patient with HIV and take the drugs that make us vomit all day long for a month. When we read with anguish the results of the blood tests after an accidental needlestick, hoping not to be infected. We simply earn our living with something that gives us emotions. It doesn't matter if they are beautiful or ugly, we just take them home. In the end we only try to make ourselves useful for everyone. Now try to do it too, though: with our actions we influence the life and death of a few dozen people. You with yours, many more. Please share and share the message. We need to spread the word to prevent what is happening here from happening all over Italy.»

Sources:

Original Facebook post
Web Link

Italian newspaper (Corriere della Sera, edizione di Bergamo) transcript


8 people like this
Posted by Parents
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Mar 11, 2020 at 3:00 pm

Actually many working parents are against school closures because they don't have daycare for their young kids -- school was supposed to provide the "daycare". College closures are ok since those kids are considered adults and can legally be at home unsupervised.


9 people like this
Posted by Parents
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Mar 11, 2020 at 3:01 pm

Actually many working parents are against school closures because they don't have daycare for their young kids and they can't take time off to be home. College closures are ok since those kids are considered adults and can legally be at home unsupervised.


12 people like this
Posted by teachers
a resident of Woodside High School
on Mar 11, 2020 at 3:46 pm

What about the teachers that are working in the schools? Just because children are safe doesn't mean they cannot infect the workers. Also my mother is a Credit Union Employee for the school district, she is in contact with teachers all day. Keep your kids home people! They may be safe but they can infect others and schools are notorious for spreading sicknesses.


8 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of another community
on Mar 11, 2020 at 4:28 pm

Response to parent “Actually many working parents are against school closures because they don't have daycare for their young kids and they can't take time off to be home. College closures are ok since those kids are considered adults and can legally be at home unsupervised.”

It understandably creates hardship for parents that have to work and have nowhere to turn to for care of young children. It’s also impossible to have small businesses pay wages for workers who can’t work as they themselves can’t stay afloat in this downturn. The state and federal government needs to step up and help fast.

The alternative of having schools remain open could be even more dire. Eventually schools will be shut down to mitigate the spread. By this time, health care and hospitals may overwhelmed to point where triage have to be performed.

Mitigating and flattening the spread is important to stall this virus as long as possible until we get the vaccine. We are all in this together. Stay safe.


8 people like this
Posted by Mikhail
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Hills
on Mar 11, 2020 at 6:06 pm

San Mateo, Laurelwood...

Where are the 15 cases of the virus from?
It would help to proactively plan to know the cities or unincorporated County area the diseased cane from.
Stay healthy !!


14 people like this
Posted by another teacher
a resident of another community
on Mar 11, 2020 at 7:09 pm

When we ask adults to keep 6 feet away from each other in meetings, but allow children to be in one room with 30 other students and their teacher we are all at risk there is a mix message. One school closes, then another and yet public schools still remain open. Universities are doing either remote learning or are taking a break. A tub of Clorox wipes is NOT going to help the schools. To say that students are not "at risk"- think about the teachers, the aids, and other staff members that interact with students, your children, all day. As a community we all need to be on the same page, and we are not. It is a disgrace. If I am exposed because my spouse needs to work from home because just maybe, the coworker who just got back from a business trip may have been exposed, and the "office" wants to play it safe, I just ruined it for my spouse. I could be spreading the virus without knowing it at school or I could have been exposed at school when one of my students tells me that their parent just returned from Hong Kong three weeks ago. Where is the leadership? Who is there to protect teachers and staff? FB, Google, Apple, Amazon and a lot of tech companies are sending their employees home. Yes, the little business and their employers will be harmed, but I believe the government is trying to help them out.
And since when are schools "Day care centers"? Schools are a place to be safe, and to learn. Clearly, yet again, we are failing out students.



7 people like this
Posted by MM
a resident of another community
on Mar 11, 2020 at 11:05 pm

Schools aren’t technically daycares, but we need an alternative plan for families who cannot take off work or hire a sitter to care for their children. That, in addition to providing food resources for some children who’s lunch at school may be their only meal.

Hoping someone on this thread has resources to help.


11 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 12, 2020 at 11:45 am

Gov. Newsom has now issued guidelines that all gatherings and activities with more than 250 people be canceled.

That would seem to include schools.


9 people like this
Posted by Teacher
a resident of another community
on Mar 12, 2020 at 11:52 am

Teachers and school staff are sdults too. We need to be protected and not be babysitting. Should we ban families of children from campus? That would be silly but the 7 parents who want to talk to teachers before and after school are putting each other and staff at risk.

School lunch is almost always a gathering for about 200+... I wonder if no students have it or it presents differently in kids. Have we tested? A student in SSFUSD was with a positive tested person.. the school was cleaned. The student went to school for days...infecting how many along the way...


6 people like this
Posted by r
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Mar 13, 2020 at 8:40 pm

Feeling sorry for all these kids who have online learning instead of just getting school off like they might have in the past.

Glad to see, at least, that they're going the same route as SHS in Atherton did. (They closed earlier than the county announced their closings, I think?)

We're certainly treading into uncharted waters at this point, and I know next to nothing about pandemics or outbreaks like this——anyone happen to know if it's likely that authorities, even at the individual school level, may need to close any longer than the three weeks currently planned?

Stay safe!


5 people like this
Posted by mike
a resident of another community
on Mar 15, 2020 at 8:44 pm

why so much panic, did everyone forget 2009 N1H1 outbreak?

We had the N1H1 (swine flu) outbreak in the US we had 59 million Americans infected, 265,000 were hospitalized, 12,000 DIED.

what we are doing now is stupid, we are only delaying it. there will be NO vaccine for at least a year, are we going to shut down this nation for a year?

we should do everything to protect those at highest risk of severe illness or death, and let the rest get through infection.

the only numbers that matter are deaths, which we have 62, yet italy has 1,809 in the same time frame.

we should stop talking about TESTING

1. TESTING will NOT cure you
2. TESTING will NOT protect you
3. TESTING will NOT stop spread of virus
4. TESTING may NOT show unless you have symptoms, even if you are infected
5. TESTING today will NOT mean you will not get infected tomorrow

and if you do test positive, you better be happy with forced quarantine





13 people like this
Posted by Trump fired the national pandemic team
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 16, 2020 at 6:36 am

Mike:

You googled plenty on N1H1 , but don't bother to stay updated on today's news?!? Read anything from the CDC or WHO?

You are quite wrong on a number of your opinions/lies. How about a quick challenge of your google skills? You up for it?

Find any recognized epidemiologist that believes the noise you just posted, such as "let the rest get through infection." Find any pandemic expert who believes you. Find any US health professional in charge of a facility who thinks that's a good idea.

Just one.

C'mon, big fella, you can do it.

Man up. Prove your words. Show us how smart you are.

Just one.

Just one.

See ya....


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