Santa Clara County introduces strict quarantine rule as cases surge

With cases spiraling, Santa Clara County announced a mandatory 14-day quarantine for residents and travelers entering the region from more than 150 miles away. The new rule goes into effect Monday and limits hotels in the county to only essential travelers.

These restrictions are in additional to the state curfew — which applies to counties like Santa Clara that are in the purple tier — and comes as a record number of coronavirus patients are hospitalized.

The Bay Area’s largest county, with 2 million people, is seeing its highest new daily case counts and hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic. On Saturday, the county reported 760 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. There are 239 COVID-related hospitalizations, 71 of whom are in intensive care units. Along with seven other counties, Santa Clara is in the most restrictive purple tier in the state’s reopening plan. Marin is now the only Bay Area county in the red.

“I am gravely concerned by the continuing surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations,” said Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody. “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 very soon if current trends continue. During this critical time of surging COVID-19 transmission in our community, I urge every resident to exercise caution and to the greatest extent possible, minimize contact with anyone outside of your immediate household.”

Amid the surge, Santa Clara also called for new capacity limits for retail stores, beginning Monday. “All facilities open to the public must establish a ‘metering system’ to ensure that the applicable capacity limits are not exceed by, for example, posting an employee at the facility entrance to track the number of people entering and exiting,” the county said.

Santa Clara County is banning all professional, collegiate and youth contact sports as of Monday. This includes the San Francisco 49ers, who play at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. They are currently working with the NFL to find a new home to finish out the season.

All of the new rules will last through Dec. 21 unless county officials decide to extend them.

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