News

San Mateo County falling short on key metrics needed to greenlight reopening economy

Starting May 18, San Mateo County announced it will allow some businesses to reopen for curbside pickup, aligning with the rest of the state's plans on the long road to reopening the economy in the shadow of the coronavirus.

However, reopening ahead of the state as a whole requires a broad set of additional criteria that would need to be met by individual counties. Some rural counties have already met those conditions and are moving forward with reopening under restricted circumstances.

Based on the criteria, though, it's clear that, at least on some fronts, San Mateo County is falling far short of state requirements for an accelerated reopening process.

Below are the California Department of Public Health's criteria for moving forward with reopening the economy.

Condition: Counties should report no more than 1 case of COVID-19 per 10,000 people, or 77 cases in San Mateo County over the past 14 days.

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Condition Met: No.

In the last 14 days, there have been 385 new cases of COVID-19 in the county, and a total of 1,515 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, according to County Manager Mike Callagy, at a May 13 media briefing.

Condition: Counties shouldn't report any deaths in the past 14 days.

Condition Met: No.

In the last 14 days, San Mateo County reported 15 COVID-19 deaths. In all, there have been 65 deaths in the county, and 38 deaths tied to congregate living facilities such as skilled nursing homes, according to Callagy.

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Condition: Counties should be able to conduct 1.5 tests per 1,000 residents to detect COVID-19, or about 1,151 tests per day in San Mateo County. Testing should be available for 75% of residents within a 30 minute drive in urban areas or 60 minute drive in rural areas.

Condition Met: No.

The county would have to double its testing rate per day to meet that goal, according to Callagy.

So far, the highest number of tests provided on a given day was 706, on May 5, according to County Health Chief Louise Rogers. She said that the county's testing capacity with private, academic and public labs could exceed that goal, but those resources haven't yet been fully utilized.

Starting next week, some people will be able to get tested even if they don't have symptoms. Find more information here or take the Verily Project Baseline screener here to see if you're eligible.

Testing will be available in several locations from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Mondays and Tuesdays tests will be provided at the San Mateo Event Center, Wednesdays and Thursdays in Daly City, and Fridays and Saturdays in East Palo Alto. The county and Verily are also developing plans to make more testing available on the coast, Callagy said.

Condition: Counties should have 15 contact tracers per 100,000 residents.

Condition Met: No.

The county currently has 40 contact tracers and would need to reach 115 to achieve the stated goal. Callagy said that the county would like to have 150 contact tracers trained and have some in reserve, ready to be called upon as needed. A plan to move forward with contact tracing was in the works and close to being released to the county manager, Rogers said Tuesday to the county's Board of Supervisors.

Condition: Counties should be able to temporarily house at least 15% of county residents experiencing homelessness.

Condition Met: Yes.

The county has already housed about 168 homeless people in hotel rooms and sheltered about 723 people. "I think we're on a very good path with this," Rogers said.

Condition: Counties should be able to meet a surge of at least a 35% increase in hospital demand due to COVID-19 on top of the usual non-COVID-19 care needs.

Condition Met: Yes.

"I'm confident we're ready to meet the surge." Callagy said. As of Wednesday, May 13, there were 63 people hospitalized due to COVID-19, according to the county's data portal. Forty-one percent of the county's ICU beds were still available and 97% of the county's surge beds were still available on May 14.

Condition: All skilled nursing facilities should have a two-week supply of personal protective equipment for workers and their own sources of such equipment other than state supplies, and county hospital facilities should have plans for how to ensure all clinical and nonclinical workers have personal protective equipment.

Condition Met: Unknown.

The county was still verifying where nursing facilities stood on that requirement, according to Callagy.

These conditions could very not well be met for months, acknowledged county Supervisor Dave Pine during a discussion Tuesday, and asked if there were efforts to change those requirements.

Rogers said that counties will likely be judged based on their overall situations, and some steps to loosen restrictions may be able to move forward if most, rather than all, of the measures are being met. "It's not going to be a really rigid process," she said.

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San Mateo County falling short on key metrics needed to greenlight reopening economy

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Thu, May 14, 2020, 11:44 am

Starting May 18, San Mateo County announced it will allow some businesses to reopen for curbside pickup, aligning with the rest of the state's plans on the long road to reopening the economy in the shadow of the coronavirus.

However, reopening ahead of the state as a whole requires a broad set of additional criteria that would need to be met by individual counties. Some rural counties have already met those conditions and are moving forward with reopening under restricted circumstances.

Based on the criteria, though, it's clear that, at least on some fronts, San Mateo County is falling far short of state requirements for an accelerated reopening process.

Below are the California Department of Public Health's criteria for moving forward with reopening the economy.

Condition: Counties should report no more than 1 case of COVID-19 per 10,000 people, or 77 cases in San Mateo County over the past 14 days.

Condition Met: No.

In the last 14 days, there have been 385 new cases of COVID-19 in the county, and a total of 1,515 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, according to County Manager Mike Callagy, at a May 13 media briefing.

Condition: Counties shouldn't report any deaths in the past 14 days.

Condition Met: No.

In the last 14 days, San Mateo County reported 15 COVID-19 deaths. In all, there have been 65 deaths in the county, and 38 deaths tied to congregate living facilities such as skilled nursing homes, according to Callagy.

Condition: Counties should be able to conduct 1.5 tests per 1,000 residents to detect COVID-19, or about 1,151 tests per day in San Mateo County. Testing should be available for 75% of residents within a 30 minute drive in urban areas or 60 minute drive in rural areas.

Condition Met: No.

The county would have to double its testing rate per day to meet that goal, according to Callagy.

So far, the highest number of tests provided on a given day was 706, on May 5, according to County Health Chief Louise Rogers. She said that the county's testing capacity with private, academic and public labs could exceed that goal, but those resources haven't yet been fully utilized.

Starting next week, some people will be able to get tested even if they don't have symptoms. Find more information here or take the Verily Project Baseline screener here to see if you're eligible.

Testing will be available in several locations from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Mondays and Tuesdays tests will be provided at the San Mateo Event Center, Wednesdays and Thursdays in Daly City, and Fridays and Saturdays in East Palo Alto. The county and Verily are also developing plans to make more testing available on the coast, Callagy said.

Condition: Counties should have 15 contact tracers per 100,000 residents.

Condition Met: No.

The county currently has 40 contact tracers and would need to reach 115 to achieve the stated goal. Callagy said that the county would like to have 150 contact tracers trained and have some in reserve, ready to be called upon as needed. A plan to move forward with contact tracing was in the works and close to being released to the county manager, Rogers said Tuesday to the county's Board of Supervisors.

Condition: Counties should be able to temporarily house at least 15% of county residents experiencing homelessness.

Condition Met: Yes.

The county has already housed about 168 homeless people in hotel rooms and sheltered about 723 people. "I think we're on a very good path with this," Rogers said.

Condition: Counties should be able to meet a surge of at least a 35% increase in hospital demand due to COVID-19 on top of the usual non-COVID-19 care needs.

Condition Met: Yes.

"I'm confident we're ready to meet the surge." Callagy said. As of Wednesday, May 13, there were 63 people hospitalized due to COVID-19, according to the county's data portal. Forty-one percent of the county's ICU beds were still available and 97% of the county's surge beds were still available on May 14.

Condition: All skilled nursing facilities should have a two-week supply of personal protective equipment for workers and their own sources of such equipment other than state supplies, and county hospital facilities should have plans for how to ensure all clinical and nonclinical workers have personal protective equipment.

Condition Met: Unknown.

The county was still verifying where nursing facilities stood on that requirement, according to Callagy.

These conditions could very not well be met for months, acknowledged county Supervisor Dave Pine during a discussion Tuesday, and asked if there were efforts to change those requirements.

Rogers said that counties will likely be judged based on their overall situations, and some steps to loosen restrictions may be able to move forward if most, rather than all, of the measures are being met. "It's not going to be a really rigid process," she said.

Comments

Penny fo ya thot
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 14, 2020 at 12:26 pm
Penny fo ya thot, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 14, 2020 at 12:26 pm
8 people like this

Can't pass the basic test, can't reopen just to have to shut down again when cases Spike.


Rob Caughlan
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 14, 2020 at 12:30 pm
Rob Caughlan, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 14, 2020 at 12:30 pm
16 people like this

Good story! Congratulations on keeping us up to date.
Thanks,


Question
Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on May 14, 2020 at 12:34 pm
Question, Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on May 14, 2020 at 12:34 pm
5 people like this

Is it deaths "with" Covid or deaths "of" Covid?


Westridge7
Portola Valley: Ladera
on May 14, 2020 at 12:57 pm
Westridge7, Portola Valley: Ladera
on May 14, 2020 at 12:57 pm
24 people like this

Extremely well written and helpful article. Thank you Almanac News, very much appreciated.

It highlights, however, that Governor Newsom's criteria were not well thought out when promulgated. "Deaths in 14 days" makes no sense whatsoever. The proper ?s are is hopsital/ICU capacity adequate to handle current capacity + surge, and is nursing home regulation and management adequate to handle same. If those answers are yes - then invariably, and unfortunately, as is always the case, some people will die. The testing/1000 residents is also nonsensical if to date we've only been focused on (indeed in most instances PERMITTED) testing for people with symptoms. By definition we don't hit those high threshholds because - not enough people in the county are symptomatic. The real question is is the county able to "test more" as more people appear - one quote suggests yes, there is adequate capacity to do that. Re our rates/1000, its impossible for us to evaluate these without more information, which presumably public health officials have. For instance, its quite possible that 50 of the 60 most recent positive tests came from extensive testing at 2 nursing homes + 1 jail. Those are things that need to be jumped on immediately, contained and treated, but it should not mean that 700,000 others of us are unable to move forward, with all appropriate caution, accordingly. I would say that it is very disappointing that 10 weeks into this, the county has only managed to assemble 40 contract tracers. Somebody in county administration is failing in their job, and by doing so is continuing to put our overall county wellness in unnecessary jeopardy: health, quality of life and economy. It appears that on the most critical factor - hospital capacity - we are in excellent shape. County resources could and I trust are being aggressively deployed to make sure our nursing care facilities are providing A-level support to their residents. Our homeless are being resourced. Governor Newsom has already had to 'walk back' elements of his directive because, again, he was not meticulous in its drafting. That's fine/life goes on. I believe that San Mateo should be permitted to open further. We all understand what we need to do to protect our selves and others and need to move forward.


Julie Brown
Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on May 14, 2020 at 2:08 pm
Julie Brown, Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on May 14, 2020 at 2:08 pm
10 people like this

I wholeheartedly agree with the comment above. Zero deaths in 14 days is like asking the population to not drive until there are zero car accidents/deaths from car crashes in 14 days. Secondly, people are not going for tests. Stanford drive up testing is now asking for volunteers to be tested because it's crickets over there - no one being tested, and testers sitting around looking at their phone.


resident
Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 14, 2020 at 2:36 pm
resident, Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 14, 2020 at 2:36 pm
10 people like this

I'm glad that the state has established smart and clear rules for opening more businesses. These rules give county officials clear guidance on where more resources and effort is needed. I hope that this article can be updated every week until the crisis is over. Reopening business too early could lead to catastrophic fatality rates.


Joseph E. Davis
Woodside: Emerald Hills
on May 14, 2020 at 3:38 pm
Joseph E. Davis, Woodside: Emerald Hills
on May 14, 2020 at 3:38 pm
3 people like this

These guidelines are intentionally very difficult to meet so that most counties do not get ahead of the state. The state will proceed to reopen according to its own timetable, and will undoubtedly not require 14 days without a death in a county. That would lead urban counties to be locked down permanently.


Joe and the Openers
Woodside: Emerald Hills
on May 14, 2020 at 3:59 pm
Joe and the Openers, Woodside: Emerald Hills
on May 14, 2020 at 3:59 pm
29 people like this

> These guidelines are intentionally very difficult to meet

Awww, Joseph, really? What guidelines would you use?

Most importantly, what level of outbreak would you agree warrants a second shutdown? I never hear the 'openers' tell us what is an acceptable loss, or what they will agree to for prevention of the second wave.

That's assuming you *do* want to prevent the second wave, of course.


Torn
Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on May 14, 2020 at 6:06 pm
Torn, Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on May 14, 2020 at 6:06 pm
1 person likes this

I am so torn about shelter in place continuing and reopening at a quicker pace. I am pretty sure that I can go back to work and be personally responsible for not spreading or catching covid 19 by practicing social distancing, wearing a mask and cleaning regularly in my work environment. I really believe that collectively we can practice a personal responsibility and be safe.
There is a great unknown if we will have a 2nd wave if we reopen but, do it practicing social distancing, wearing masks, etc. When the virus spread originally before lockdown, we were not doing those things. So if we do those things this time will the virus spread at an unacceptable level?


Barbara Wilcox
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 14, 2020 at 7:12 pm
Barbara Wilcox , Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 14, 2020 at 7:12 pm
8 people like this

Thank you for this fair, objective article. We need fewer deaths and a lot more epidemiological data before I'd feel comfortable dining or shopping the way I used to do.

FYI there's a free training for contact tracers on Coursera, offered by Johns Hopkins. I'm taking it because I want to be able to help if the county can use me. Shame on your competition for calling such workers "busybodies."


JBresnan
Portola Valley: Portola Valley Ranch
on May 15, 2020 at 9:37 am
JBresnan, Portola Valley: Portola Valley Ranch
on May 15, 2020 at 9:37 am
Like this comment

Excellent article! Keep up the good work.


neighbor
another community
on May 18, 2020 at 11:25 am
neighbor, another community
on May 18, 2020 at 11:25 am
Like this comment

Is there a publicly available dashboard somewhere, where these metrics can be tracked? It would be great to be able to follow along, for both San Mateo and Santa Clara counties (and, in fact, all of California).


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