‘Brisk return of deaths’: Santa Clara Co.’s top health official warns of easing shelter-in-place order too soon

New guidelines announced by Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday, will do little to weaken the Bay Area’s strict stay-at-home order. According to Santa Clara County’s Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody, doing so could lead to a “brisk return of deaths.”

Dr. Cody updated the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday on why the county cannot move into stage two of the governor’s reopening plan amid the coronavirus crisis.

“We’re not there yet,” she told supervisors.

It’s the reason residents in the Bay Area won’t immediately see changes to restrictive stay-at-home orders, despite the governor’s latest move in his steady push to reopen the state.

“The statewide order affords the opportunity for local governments to conform with those guidelines, but one can choose – a region like the Bay Area and its six counties – can choose to be a little bit more prescriptive and restrictive,” Gov. Newsom explained.

In hard-hit Santa Clara County, Dr. Cody told the Supervisors that while the county is seeing progress, it’s not enough to push its luck.

At one point in the discussion, Cody answered questions she’s asked often: “Things look great, why aren’t we reopening? Why are other people reopening when they don’t look like we do? Why can’t we just go into phase two like the rest of California, and why can’t we do it yesterday?”

Cody responded to her own line of questioning, “The conditions really haven’t changed in our county. We don’t have, we don’t suddenly have herd immunity, we don’t suddenly have a vaccine, we have exactly the same conditions that we had in March. So that if we did ease up we would see a brisk return of cases, hospitalizations, and a brisk return of deaths.”

No doubt, a strong warning.

So, ABC7 News went online to connect with viewers sheltering-in-place about this slow push to reopen- reaching out for real responses.

On Instagram, Elli Reyes responded, “After reaching out to other friends that are nurses/doctors, if they say it’s unwise to reopen, then I’ll side with them. They know more about body functions and treating illnesses.”

On Twitter, Kim Northrop said, “We’ve shown we can social distance, wear masks, wash our hands. It’s time for gradual reopening of business w/ modifications. If Target, Walmart, & Home Depot have stayed open, why can’t mom and pops? I’d argue the smaller the business, the more we’ll stay on top of smart practices.”

“The goal was to reduce deaths. Not shutter the entire economy. People can manage themselves and their own risk. Worried? Stay home. Scared of doing 65mph on the freeway, don’t get on the freeway. Avoid risks you’re not comfortable with. Elderly, high risk- stay home. The rest, go live,” Brian Steele said on Twitter.

And on Facebook, Ed Capacity shared, “I get it. Parents want to feed their families. Stress is high but we need to remember the seriousness of this virus. It can end lives. We can survive without pay- that is temporary. When a life ends, there’s no fighting for another day.”
More responses can be viewed by visiting the original Tweet, here.

“I want to acknowledge that we all want to reopen, desperately, for many, many, many reasons,” Dr. Cody shared with Supervisors. “But we need to do so in a safe manner.”

As of Tuesday, Santa Clara County reported more than 2,300 COVID-19 cases, and 130 deaths.

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