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Coronavirus central: Santa Clara County total of cases surges to 848

Counties plan to extend shelter-at-home order to May 1

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This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Image by Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM courtesy CDC.

Latest updates:

NEW COVID-19 CASES, DEATHS: The Santa Clara County has reported a total of 848 coronavirus cases, 202 of which were announced on Monday, and three people who died of the disease, raising the death toll to 28. The large jump in cases is due to a reporting delay, as opposed to a one-day increase, according to the county. Also on Monday, San Mateo County announced a total of 309 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and six people who have died from the disease.

PLANS TO EXTEND STAY-AT-HOME ORDER: The public can expect the current shelter-at-home order for seven Bay Area jurisdictions, including Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, to continue through May 1. Health officers in each of the jurisdictions expect to announce an updated order in the coming days.

INCREASING HEALTH CARE STAFF: On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the California Health Corps initiative to increase the state's health care workforce and prepare for a surge in COVID-19 cases predicted by the state's modeling.

TELE-TOWN HALL: A telephone town hall on the status of the coronavirus in Santa Clara County is scheduled for this Sunday, April 5, at 11 a.m. The meeting will feature Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian and other health care professionals. Anyone interested in joining can call 855-866-6313.

LOTS AT STATE PARKS CLOSED: California State Parks announced on Sunday that it is temporarily closing vehicle access at all 280 state parks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Below is comprehensive coverage of the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and Almanac in chronological order. For coverage by subject — how the virus is affecting public health, residents, schools, cities, businesses, nonprofits, arts groups, etc. — please go to our Wakelet page.

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Santa Clara County has reported a total of 848 coronavirus cases, 202 of which were announced on Monday. The large jump is due to a reporting delay, as opposed to a one-day increase, the county wrote in an update on its new data dashboard.

Of the 848 people with COVID-19, 53%, or about 450, are male and 46%, or roughly 390, are female. A majority of the cases are people between 41 and 50 years old, which made up 20% of the total. Here's a full breakdown by age group:

• 20 years old or under: 3.1%.

• 21 to 30 years old: 11.2%.

• 31 to 40 years old: 19%.

• 41 to 50 years old: 20.2%.

• 51 to 60 years old: 18.8%.

• 61 to 70 years old: 13.2%.

• 71 to 80 years old: 8.3%.

• 81 to 90 years old: 4.1%.

• 91 years old or over: 1.1%.

• Unknown: 1.2%

The county also reported Monday that three people died of the disease, raising the death toll to 28, 75% of which were male and 25% of which were female. Of the total, 71% had pre-existing conditions, 14% had none and 14% were unknown.

Here's a full breakdown of the people who died by age group:

• 21 and 30 years old: 3.6%

• 11 and 40 years old: 0%

• 41 and 50 years old: 11%.

• 51 and 60 years old: 14.3%.

• 61 and 70 years old: 17.9%.

• 71 and 80 years old: 25%.

• 81 and 90 years old: 28.6%.

Also on Monday, San Mateo County announced a total of 309 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and six people who have died from the disease.

==Extended shelter-at-home order==

The public can expect the current shelter-at-home order for seven Bay Area jurisdictions, including Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, to continue through May 1. Health officers in each of the jurisdictions expect to announce an updated order in the coming days.

The health officers had previously said their jurisdictions could see an extension to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, according to a joint press release from the city of Berkeley and Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco and San Mateo counties. The updated order is expected to be finalized in the next day or two.

Increasing health care staff

At a Monday afternoon press conference, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the California Health Corps initiative to increase the state's health care workforce and prepare for a surge in COVID-19 cases predicted by the state's modeling.

Newsom cited a "universe" of 37,000 retired health care professionals or those with inactive licenses that he hopes to tap into in order to staff additional health care sites throughout the state and increase the number of medical professionals treating patients who don't have COVID-19. Interested participants can find more information here.

The initiative calls for physicians, pharmacists, dentists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses (RN, LVN, CNA), behavioral health professionals, respiratory therapists, paramedics, emergency medical technicians and medical assistants as well as medical and nursing students, according to the website.

To quickly meet the demands of the state's health care system, Newsom announced an executive order that provides temporary flexibility in staffing ratios and licensing processes for retired health care professionals as well as medical and nursing students close to receiving their degree or license.

"We have an executive order that went out that will provide flexibility through June 30," Newsom said. "This is temporary flexibility on staffing ratios (and) on scope of practice for nurse practitioners and EMTs and others."

Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state's secretary of health and human services who helped prepare the executive order and joined Monday's press conference, said that the staffing ratios are not specifically outlined down to the number "but does give us the flexibility and room to work within reasonable measures with the current conditions we expect."

In terms of accelerating retired professionals and students into the workforce, Ghaly did not explain what exactly that process looks like, but did provide an example of who the order addresses.

"There are a number of things that have to do with who can get licensed, how they can reinstate their license and being flexible and waiving some of those tried and true conditions that allow us to — for example, somebody who has been out of the workforce for just under five years — allow them to come in immediately to meet the surge demand," Ghaly said.

In addition, Newsom outlined several potential "surge sites" that the state will be looking into, including the Oakland Coliseum and Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, in order to increase the available hospital beds statewide to 50,000.

Telephone town hall

A telephone town hall on the status of the coronavirus in Santa Clara County is scheduled for this Sunday, April 5, at 11 a.m. The meeting will feature Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody and Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian and other health care professionals. Anyone interested in joining can call 855-866-6313.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MARCH 28-29

The number of coronavirus cases sharply rose in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties over the weekend. As of Sunday, San Mateo County has 277 cases and six deaths. Santa Clara County has 646 cases, 72 of which were reported on Saturday and Sunday, and 25 deaths.

Santa Clara County has the most people with the coronavirus compared to the eight other Bay Area counties. The county's 646 cases as of Sunday afternoon make up over a quarter of the region's total cases. The county's death count now stands at 25, five of which were reported on Saturday.

Stanford University is now aware of 29 people who are connected to the Stanford community either as faculty, staff, students or postdoctoral students and who have received positive COVID-19 test results.

State bans vehicle access at state parks

California State Parks announced on Sunday that it is temporarily closing vehicle access at all 280 state parks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The department issued the restriction following a noticeable increase of visitors at parks statewide over the start of the weekend.

"On Saturday, many state parks once again experienced visitation surges that made it impossible for the public to implement appropriate social/physical distancing practicing," according to the announcement.

The Parks Department recommends that residents stay close to home when going outdoors. "This is not the time for a road trip to a destination park or beach," according to the announcement.

The department said it will continue to monitor visitation at all state parks, and if the current restrictions are not sufficient to protect public health, additional measures may be taken to fully close parks, including trails, bathrooms and other amenities.

For more information about park closures, go to the State Parks COVID-19 Resource Center.

Ventilator acquisitions increase and positive cases rise

Gov. Gavin Newsom held a press conference at the Sunnyvale manufacturing plant of Bloom Energy on Saturday to highlight work the company is doing refurbishing ventilators. On March 16, Newsom called for 10,000 additional ventilators to meet a projected surge in serious COVID-19 cases. Since making the plea, the state has procured an additional 4,250 ventilators toward that goal, he said.

Bloom's CEO K.R. Sridhar said the company shipped 80 refurbished ventilators to the state on Friday — on top of 24 it originally shipped — and was shipping another 120 on Saturday. The company expects to increase production in the next weeks to handle 250 per day.

Bloom is also refurbishing 170 broken ventilators received by Los Angeles from the federal stockpile. That shipment should be delivered on Monday, he said.

Newsom said the state had a 105% surge in the number of people in intensive care units between Friday and Saturday, more than doubling from 200 to 410 cases. Hospitalization rose from 746 to 1,034 patients — a 38.6% increase. He added that while those numbers may be startling, they are much lower figures overall than in other states.

He strongly urged the public to continue to shelter in place. It is the only way to prevent further deaths and spread of the disease and to not overwhelm the hospital system.

San Mateo County closes its parks

All San Mateo County parks have been closed until further notice due to a sharp increase in visitors despite the shelter-at-home and social distancing orders enacted to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, county officials said on Friday.

The county had kept 17 of the 23 sites it manages open before Friday.

An increase in visitors last weekend and observations of park and trail use over the past several weeks led to the closure order.

"The decision to close parks is not easy, especially now when people are looking for outdoor experiences, but the safety of San Mateo County residents must always be a priority," said San Mateo County Parks Director Nicholas Calderon. "In that spirit we had to take this action."

Data collected from mid-February to March 25 showed increases of 50% to 300% in park use following the shelter-at-home order.

Park staff also noticed people gathering in groups and failing to keep a safe distance, county officials said.

"We have a limited amount of time for the shelter-in-place order to truly save lives," County Manager Mike Callagy said. "The sheer number of people crowding our parks and driving to reach them made them unsafe for our community. I appreciate the desire for our residents to get outside and enjoy our open spaces, but we cannot have them descending on our parks in large groups now."

Entrance gates and parking lots will be locked and notices will be posted that the parks and trails are closed.

Patrol of parks will continue during the closure.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MARCH 27

Santa Clara County now has a total of 574 cases of the coronavirus, 32 of which were announced on Friday, according to a new dashboard launched by the county this afternoon. The dashboard provides a daily count of the cases since Feb. 28 and charts of the totals cross-tabulated with age, gender and underlying health conditions.

Of the 574 people with COVID-19, 53%, or a little over 300, are male and 46%, roughly 264, are female. A majority of the cases are people between 41 and 50 years old, which made up 21% of the total. Here's a full breakdown by age group:

• 20 years old or under: 3.5%.

• 21 to 30 years old: 9.9%.

• 31 to 40 years old: 17.8%.

• 41 to 50 years old: 21.4%.

• 51 to 60 years old: 19%.

• 61 to 70 years old: 12.4%.

• 71 to 80 years old: 9.2%.

• 81 to 90 years old: 4.4%.

• 91 years old or over: 1.2.%.

• Unknown: 1.6%

The county also reported one more person died of the disease, bringing the death toll to 20, 70% of which were male and 30% of which were female. Of the total, 75% had pre-existing conditions and 15% had none.

Here's a full breakdown of the people who died by age group:

• 41 and 50 years old: 5%.

• 51 and 60 years old: 20%.

• 61 and 70 years old: 25%.

• 71 and 80 years old: 20%.

• 81 and 90 years old: 30%.

On Friday, March 27, San Mateo County announced a total of 239 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and six people who have died from the disease. That's an increase of 44 new confirmed cases since Thursday.

San Jose predicts county's total COVID-19 deaths over next three months

San Jose Deputy City Manager Kip Harkness presented preliminary data regarding the potential spread of the coronavirus in Santa Clara County during the City Council's March 24 meeting. The city's models estimated that between 9,000 and 19,000 people in the county of 1.9 million residents might currently be infected with the virus.

The city’s models also predicted the worst, moderate and best-case scenarios for hospitalizations and deaths and the number of people who might require life-saving ventilators. It also estimated a timeline for each scenario and the impact of each.

"We have to bend the curve now," he said, referring to the trajectory of the contagion.

If residents do comply with the shelter-at-home order, hospitals could mostly handle the number of people needing ventilators. But under the moderate and worst scenarios, in which residents do not stay at home, the number of seriously ill people would overwhelm the system.

Even in the best-case scenario, an estimated 2,000 people in Santa Clara County could die in the next 12 weeks.

Santa Clara County public health leaders distanced themselves from the San Jose report, however. In a statement released on Thursday, they said the modeling and data had not been vetted by their department. On Friday, Executive Officer Jeff Smith said that statistical models of the future spread of the coronavirus are not what people should focus on. The only thing that matters at this point is for people to stay home and consistently refrain from being in contact with others as much as possible.

"Statistics can be misleading," said Smith, a physician.

The county is contracting with Stanford Medicine to analyze detailed data to determine factors that cause spread of the virus so health departments can have "internal projections about what we can expect in the future," he said.

Moratoriums on residential evictions

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday signed an executive order that banned evicting renters impacted by the coronavirus crisis through May 31. Under the order, landlords can't evict tenants who don't pay rent and law enforcement or courts can't enforce the removal of renters.

The executive order also requires tenants declare their inability to pay rent in writing within seven days after their due date. A copy over the order can be found here.

Newsom's order comes a day after the East Palo Alto City Council unanimously passed an emergency law that temporarily bans tenants from getting evicted as a result of the pandemic. Under the emergency law, also effective through May 31, tenants are required to provide a written notice about their inability to pay rent within 30 days. More information on the moratorium can be found here.

Known cases of COVID-19 in California sharply rise

Confirmed cases of the coronavirus rose 26% in one day, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Friday. Statewide, there are 746 hospitalizations, 200 of which are in the intensive-care unit, 3,180 positive cases and 78 deaths.

Newsom said the figures are the result of additional testing, which has been lagging since the pandemic reached California in January. The state has now recorded 88,400 tests, including testing by private, state and county laboratories. Newsom said the results of those tests are coming in too slowly, however, with some patients waiting six days or more to learn if they have the disease.

Speaking in front of the federal hospital ship the USNS Mercy, which is docked in Los Angeles, Newsom said that the city saw a 50% surge in cases in two days. At that rate, the city could reach similar numbers of positive cases as New York City in a week and the state could match New York in 12 days. He urged everyone to stay inside and continue to respect the shelter-at-home order as the only way to flatten the curve of the contagion.

The state has ordered 98 park facilities, mostly on the coast, to shut their parking lots to prevent people from gathering.

JCC suspends most operations

The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto has decided to suspend most operations starting this weekend as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which has left "an insurmountable financial impact," CEO Zack Bodner said in an email addressed to the community. The community center has also placed most of its staff on furlough and some remain hired at "significantly reduced compensation."

The JCC is continuing to offer programs and resources through its virtual hub.

Students map COVID-19 cases, free meal distributions

Two Palo Alto High School students, Jonathan Kao and Victor Lin, have created a real-time website with coronavirus data provided by counties across the nation, according to a post by Kao on neighborhood social network Nextdoor.

Users can search for information on their county by searching their ZIP code or county and sign up for daily emails updates on new data from their county. View the website at clearcov19.com/.

A group of Stanford University students, in partnership with local school districts and nonprofit organizations, have created a digital map with detailed information about where local children can access free meals during the school closures in 10 Bay Area counties. View it here.

PREVIOUS UPDATE: MARCH 26

Santa Clara County recorded 83 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday and two more deaths from the disease. The new cases represent the second-highest one-day jump nearly two months since public health leaders announced the first local COVID-19 patient.

The county provided a breakdown of the age ranges for the total 542 people in the county with the coronavirus. A majority of the cases are people between 41-50 years old.

• People 20 years old or under: 19.

• People between 21 and 30 years old: 48.

• People between 31 and 40 years old: 99.

• People between 41 and 50 years old: 115.

• People between 51 and 60 years old: 104.

• People between 61 and 70 years old: 68.

• People between 71 and 80 years old: 51.

• People 80 years old or over: 30.

• People of unknown age: 8.

The county's total represents nearly half of the cases reported in the Bay Area, which has 1,322 cases.

No further details on the two deaths. The county plans to release a new website with "additional aggregate data" on its cases.

A sixth sheriff's deputy has tested positive for the coronavirus, the sheriff's office announced Thursday evening. The employee, assigned to the custody bureau, is in isolation at home and is one of three deputies who the agency determined was possibly exposed to the disease.

The sheriff's office is working to identify other staff members and inmates possibly exposed to the coronavirus.

In San Mateo County, 195 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and five people have died from the disease as of Thursday, March 26. That's an increase of 30 new confirmed cases over the last 24 hours.

Transit

A light-rail operator trainee for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority has tested positive for the coronavirus, forcing the transit agency to suspend light-rail service until further notice, a VTA spokeswoman said Thursday.

Six light-car trains were running when service was suspended at 11:30 p.m. Wednesday. Agency personnel checked train platforms to make sure no riders were left stranded, according to spokeswoman Brandi Childress.

Light-rail trains will stay at the VTA's operating division and "undergo thorough cleaning," in addition to the operating division, Childress said.

Read the more from the VTA's Headways blog, which can be found here.

Starting Monday, Caltrain will reduce weekday service indefinitely. The rail commuter service will run 42 trains instead of 92, according to a press release issued Thursday. The trains will make all stops between San Francisco and San Jose about every 30-60 minutes. Limited and Baby Bullet has been temporarily shut down until further notice. An updated schedule can be here. The agency's weekend service will remain normal.

Donation drive

A group of Stanford School of Medicine students is holding donation drives for personal protection equipment this Friday, March 27, from 3 to 7 p.m. and Saturday, March 28, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. outside of the Stanford Shopping Center.

They plan to set up in the parking lot just north of the Neiman Marcus department store. Donations can be opened or unopened but must be new. If items are open from the packaging, they must be placed in plastic zip-close bags. The group plans to safely sanitize any items before they are given away. Read more here.

Telephone town hall

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, plans to discuss new federal funding to address the coronavirus crisis and available community resources at a telephone town hall meeting on Thursday, March 26, starting at 7:35 p.m. Those interested in joining can register here.

PREVIOUS UPDATE: March 25

The latest Santa Clara County total of 459 coronavirus cases released Wednesday shows nearly half of the people presumably caught the disease within the community.

Of the 459 cases, 217 are presumed to have been community transmitted, 137 people are hospitalized and 88 are close contacts of known cases, according to the Public Health Department. No information was provided on cases associated with international travel.

The county also reported one more person died of the disease, bringing the death toll to 17.

A fifth Santa Clara County sheriff's deputy has tested positive for the coronavirus, the agency announced on Twitter. The individual, assigned to the custody bureau, is in isolation at home. Four of the five deputies worked on the same team.

In San Mateo County, 165 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and five people have died from the disease as of Wednesday, March 25. That's an increase of four new confirmed cases and four more deaths over the last 24 hours.

Stanford University announced that it's aware of 24 individuals who are connected to the Stanford community either as faculty, staff, students or postdocs, who have tested positive for COVID-19. They are living in the Bay Area and beyond, Stanford said. The university had previously reported one on-campus case involving a student who is self-isolating on campus. The new count "should not be considered comprehensive, given that it is partly based on self-reporting to the university ... and given the quickly changing nature of the COVID-19 spread," Stanford said, it is encouraging its community members to report test results to the university. Later on Wednesday, the university learned of two more people who have tested positive for COVID-19, raising the total to 26 individuals.

Social media giant's contribution

Facebook contributed $250,000 to the Sequoia Union High School District to give 2,000 students access to Wi-Fi hotspots for distance learning. High school district officials had reached out to Facebook because they anticipated the need for tech support for many of its families.

"We're proud to partner with the District and contribute $250,000 to ensure 2,000 SUHSD (Sequoia Union High School District) students — who would normally not have access to reliable internet at home — can access their online schoolwork from home," said Chloe Meyere, a Facebook spokesperson. "We're grateful for the District's leadership on this critical issue, and will continue to support our neighbors struggling with the impact of COVID-19."

Transit service

On Wednesday, SamTrans implemented a new practice, having riders board at the rear of busses with multiple doors, to follow social distancing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Passengers with disabilities or in need of assistance will be exempt from the practice. The agency is calling on patrons to stay 6 feet apart as requested by the CDC. Rides are currently free until further notice.

SamTrans has seen its weekday ridership drop 65-70% and expects to see lose $1.3 million in monthly revenue fare.

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority plans to reduce service on its bus, light-rail and paratransit services starting Monday, March 30. The agency aims to prioritize service to hospitals, food banks and shelters.

"We find ourselves in an unprecedented situation of balancing how we provide that service amid a health pandemic in which ridership is extremely sparse," spokesman Ken Blackstone wrote on the VTA's "Headways" blog.

The changes include cutting down light-rail service frequency to every 30 minutes; ending bus and light-rail trips after 9 p.m., with the exception of Route 22 (which will continue to run 24/7 between the Palo Alto Transit Center and San Jose's Eastridge Transit Center); and adjustments to the Express 181 bus to coincide with BART's reduced service schedule.

A map of the reduced service changes can be found at vta.org.

PREVIOUS UPDATE: March 24

On Tuesday, Santa Clara County joined six other Bay Area jurisdictions in issuing new reporting requirements for laboratories testing for the new coronavirus, the county said in a press release.

The county, along with the city of Berkeley and Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties, are seeking more detailed information to help health leaders understand the rate of infection and possibly identify areas of dense infection.

Altogether, the jurisdictions have reported 930 confirmed cases, which makes up over half of the state's total, and 19 deaths. (Those numbers have since changed since Santa Clara County announcements of additional cases and deaths on Tuesday afternoon.)

Under the order, labs not only need to report positive results, which has prevented public health leaders from knowing the total number of people tested, but also negative and inconclusive readings. The test results for residents in each jurisdiction must be sent to the health care provider seeking the test and appropriate state and local authorities.

Public health labs are limited in the number of tests they can run compared to the commercial and academic labs, where testing is more readily available, according to the Santa Clara County press release.

"Receiving this critical information from those labs will help local health departments respond to COVID-19 during this unprecedented time," Dr. Sara Cody said in the press release.

Read the Santa Clara County order here.

Shelter-at-home order could last 12 weeks

Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Tuesday, March 24 that a shelter-at-home order would last through April and as long as 12 weeks. Newsom said Californians have much to do to flatten the curve to levels where contagion of the COVID-19 virus would be greatly reduced.

Newsom's comments made over Facebook Live are at odds with those of President Donald Trump, who wants the country to get back to work by Easter, April 12. Newsom said it's "misleading" to think the state could reduce its stay-at-home order by that date.

"April, for California, would be sooner than any of the experts that I talk to would believe is possible," he said.

Newsom said the next six to eight weeks will be pivotal. California couldn't make any potential adjustments to the order for at least six weeks. In eight to 12 weeks "we will be in a very different place," he said.

He noted that people must do more to heed the shelter and social distancing order, and the impact of the disease on younger people can't be underestimated. Disproportionately, 50% of the positive coronavirus cases are among people ages 18 to 49, he said, although the majority of hospitalizations and deaths are still among people ages 60 and older. A teenager in Lancaster, a city about 70 miles north of Los Angeles, has died from the disease, he said.

New COVID-19 cases, deaths

Santa Clara County reported 54 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday. The county now has a total of 375 cases, 125 of which are people hospitalized, 91 of which are presumed to have been community transmitted; 82 of which are close contacts of known cases and 30 of which are associated with international travel.

The county also announced three more deaths from the disease, raising its death toll to 16. Further details on the new deaths weren't released.

San Mateo County added 19 cases to its total, which is now 161 as of Tuesday morning, March 24.

Fourth deputy has COVID-19

A fourth Santa Clara County sheriff's deputy has tested positive for the coronavirus, the agency announced on Twitter. The employee works at the custody division and is under quarantine at home. The sheriff's office announced its three other cases on Monday.

Federal Medical Station

A temporary Federal Medical Station that Santa Clara County is setting up in collaboration with the U.S. Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response will serve less-acute COVID-19 cases, the county clarified on Tuesday in a press release. The county had previously said the station wouldn't care for coronavirus patients.

The station will be set up at the Santa Clara Convention Center to accommodate up to 250 people. It will also care for short-term inpatient patients with subacute medical, mental health or other needs. The station will be supplied with beds, supplies and medicines, the county said. More information on the stations can be found at cdc.gov.

Food closet

Downtown Street Team's food closet located at All Saints Episcopal Church in Palo Alto is staying stocked with fresh groceries to help a community in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the organization's senior manager David Vyfvinkel, the downtown food closet has received two to three times more fresh produce than it usually serves thanks to donations from various retails and organizations such as Trader Joe's and Second Harvest Food Bank.

And besides a few newcomers coming in from the South Palo Alto Food Closet at Covenant Presbyterian Church, which is currently closed, the team is serving fewer clients than usual.

"We usually have about 60-75 people on any given day," Vyfvinkel said. "Now we're getting 40 to 45."

The three volunteers, including Vyfvinkel, who were operating the food closet on Tuesday wore masks and gloves to protect themselves while they handled food. To keep 6 feet of distance from the public, as recommended by public health officials, Vyfvinkel said they now make visitors wait outside while the team fills people's grocery bags with food and brings it outside.

The food closet is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; and Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

PREVIOUS UPDATE: March 23

Santa Clara County has reported a total of 321 cases, 19 of which were announced on Monday. Of the 321 cases, 116 people are hospitalized, 91 presumed to have been community transmitted; 77 are close contacts of known cases; 28 are associated with international travel; and 13 people have died, according to the county's public health department.

Also on Monday, the county started releasing data on the people who have died. Of the 13 deaths, nine were men and four were women. The county also reported age ranges for the deceased:

• One person was between 41 and 50 years old.

• Two people were between 51 and 60 years old.

• Four people were between 61 and 70 years old.

• Two people were between 71 and 80 years old.

• Four people were between 81 and 90 years old.

Also, eight of the deaths involved people with pre-existing conditions and the remaining five had no pre-existing conditions.

San Mateo County now has 142 coronavirus cases, 25 of which were reported Monday morning, and one death.

At a press conference on Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said California needs 50,000 hospital beds, up from 20,000, in response to the coronavirus after the state recalibrated its needs based on updated modeling. The increase means the state will seek to identify places to establish an additional 17,000 net new beds to add to its existing stock.

Coronavirus testing

On Monday, March 23, Santa Clara County issued an update on local testing for coronavirus. It has tested 1,044 samples for 647 patients as of Sunday, March 22.

The county noted that its public health laboratory can only run up to 100 tests daily through kits provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The lab is neither able to run tests at the high rates of private, commercial labs nor structured to handle such a volume. Its current focus is to test hospital patients; people living or working in high-risk places, such as long-term care facilities; health care professionals; and first responders.

In light of these limitations, the county has called on large commercial laboratories to report all positive and negative results for COVID-19 tests, plus other key information, according to the update. The details would allow the county to determine which parts of the community are seeing "more intense transmission."

Read the rest of the statement here.

State parks, beaches 'soft' close

Following a weekend of packed beaches despite a state order to shelter at home due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Newsom ordered parking lots at most state parks and beaches to close. Newsom called the move a "soft closure" to discourage people from overcrowding the open spaces. Park rangers would also enforce the 6-foot-distance rule between people. All campgrounds are closed. Locally, the following parking lots are closed: Año Nuevo and Burleigh Murray state parks; Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park; and Bean Hollow, Cowell Ranch, Gray Whale Cove, Half Moon Bay, Montara, Pescadero, Pomponio and San Gregorio state beaches. A full list of all of the park closures is available here.

Air National Guard arrives

Following Gov. Newsom's order, members of the California Air National Guard deployed to five counties around the state, including Santa Clara County, to help package and distribute food.

Newsom decided to use the National Guard for food distribution to the needy after nonprofit organizations around the state saw a large decrease in volunteers. Many of those volunteers are traditionally seniors and retired people, and they are among the most vulnerable to having serious complications from the COVID-19 illness and are adhering to the statewide stay-at-home order.

Last week, Newsom activated nearly 500 soldiers with Joint Task Force 115 to support county food banks. Soldiers and air personnel from the California National Guard began supporting food-bank warehouses in Sacramento. On Monday, March 23, the National Guard will send service members to support food banks in Amador, Monterey, Riverside, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties. The personnel will assist at Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, 750 Curtner Ave. in San Jose, in Santa Clara County, according to a statement released Monday evening.

Air personnel from the Fresno-based, 144th Fighter Wing, California Air National Guard, deployed their Medical Detachment 1's Homeland Response Force to support the California Emergency Medical Services Authority and assist at a medical supply warehouse in Sacramento.

Another 10 personnel from the 144th Flight Wing were sent to Pacific Grove to assist the California Emergency Medical Services with caring for 19 quarantined passengers from the Grand Princess cruise ship.

Inmates, deputies confirmed with COVID-19

A county inmate has tested positive for coronavirus, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office announced Monday. The inmate is a 31-year-old man who was arrested on Friday and booked into the county's Main Jail in San Jose. While he was getting booked into jail, he reported feeling sick and told deputies that a family member returned home from Europe days earlier, according to a sheriff's office press release.

Once booked, the man was "masked" and placed under isolation in an infirmary, where he was tested for coronavirus, according to the press release. The results showed a positive reading for COVID-19, medical staff learned on Sunday.

The inmate remains in quarantine and is being monitored. The sheriff's office notified San Jose police that the initial arresting officer or officers may have been exposed to the disease.

In response, custody medical staff plans to screen new arrestees outside of the jail's sally port area and health care workers will assess whether they have dry cough, shortness of breath, fever or been exposed to someone with the coronavirus.

Three sheriff's deputies — two assigned to the patrol division and the other assigned to the custody bureau — have also tested positive for the new coronavirus, the agency announced Monday. Of the three deputies, were confirmed with COVID-19 Sunday and the other on Monday.

Two of the three deputies are under self-quarantine and the other is in stable condition at a hospital.

Telephone town halls

Santa Clara County Public Health Department is partnering with local Congressional leaders to host a telephone town hall on Tuesday, March 24, at 1 p.m. to answer the community's questions on COVID-19.

The event is a collaboration with Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto; Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose; Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Fremont; and Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Carmel Valley.

The community can join the call when the event begins by calling 855-962-1194. Questions about the event can be made to the Public Health Department at 408-271-8700.

More information on the event can be found here.

The Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System also plans to host a tele-town hall for veterans on March 30 from 6-7 p.m. Those interested in joining the meeting will need to register online at dashboard.teletownhall.us. Registrants will receive a call before the event starts.

Supplying respirators

Foothill College has made respirators from its respiratory therapy program available for the state Health and Human Services Agency to use in response to the pandemic. Of the 12 respirators on its Los Alto Hills campus, two of them are the same ones used at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, according to Dr. Ram Subrahmaniam, the college's dean of STEM.

PREVIOUS UPDATE: March 21-22

Increasing health care capacity

Santa Clara County is working with local hospitals to prepare for an expected surge in coronavirus patients, County Board of Supervisors President Cindy Chavez and Santa Clara Valley Medical Center CEO Paul Lorenz said at a press conference on Sunday.

Lorenz said there are approximately 2,500 hospital beds in the county. Roughly 400 of the beds are dedicated to pediatric care and 350 are for critical care, 75% to 80% of which are currently occupied. Approximately 290 additional beds can be converted to an "ICU level of care," he said.

"If in fact the demand goes beyond our capacity, we are working with the county emergency operations center to come up with a communitywide search plan," he said. "That plan would include looking at all 2,100 adult beds that we can equip and staff for critically ill patients."

The Valley Medical Center Foundation is continuing to collect monetary donations online and protective equipment, which can be dropped off beginning at 8 a.m. Monday, March 23, at the foundation's office on the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center campus, 2400 Clove Drive in San Jose.

Read more from the press conference here.

The county has teamed up with the U.S. Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response to establish a temporary Federal Medical Station at the Santa Clara Convention Center to accommodate up to 250 people, according to a statement issued Saturday. The station will be managed by the federal office to serve patients in need of short-term, subacute care and do not have COVID-19. It will be equipped with beds, supplies and medicines, according to the county.

The state can also increase capacity at clinics, mobile health care units and adult day care facilities as part of its COVID-19 response under an executive order issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday.

New COVID-19 cases, deaths

Santa Clara County now has 302 cases of the new coronavirus, 106 of which were announced on Saturday and Sunday. The COVID-19 death toll now stands at 10 with the announcement of two more deaths over the weekend.

Of Santa Clara County's COVID-19 cases, 108 people are hospitalized; 77 are presumed to have been community transmitted; 75 are close contacts of known cases; 22 are associated with international travel; and 10 people have died, according to the county's public health department.

The ninth and 10th recorded deaths in the county were women in their 60s and 40s, respectively. Both women died Saturday, March 21. The woman in her 40s was hospitalized Monday, March 16, according to the county. Further information was not provided.

San Mateo County announced 10 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday and seven more on Sunday, bringing its county total to 11. The county currently has one death stemming from the disease.

Menlo fire begins pandemic response unit

The Menlo Park Fire Protection District now has a Pandemic Emergency Response Unit staffed by a two-person team. The unit is tasked with taking calls of suspected COVID-19 cases, according to a press release issued Saturday.

The district recently received seven calls of suspected COVID-19 in one day and expects to see that number go up.

Staff assigned to the unit will utilize the "highest level of Emergency Medical Services" and personal protective equipment. The district said they will aim to minimize contact with whoever may have COVID-19 while on a call to decrease possible exposure to the disease.

PREVIOUS UPDATE: March 20

Santa Clara County now has 196 cases of the new coronavirus, seven of which were announced Friday. The county also reported two more deaths, bringing its total to eight. San Mateo County's total case count hit the 100 mark on Friday morning.

On Friday afternoon, Santa Clara County reported two more deaths and seven new infections as a result of the coronavirus. The seventh recorded death was an adult male in his 80s who was hospitalized on Tuesday, March 3, and died on Tuesday, March 17. The eighth reported death was an adult male in his 70s.

In San Mateo County, 100 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and one person died from the disease as of Friday, March 20, at 8:57 a.m.

Also on March 20, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order extending the deadline for the official canvass of the March 3 election by 21 days. The certification of election results was initially due by April 2; it will now be by April 23. The change was made because of the difficulties presented by the social distancing order of public health officials in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Despite the extension, Friday's executive order stated: "Counties are urged to complete activities related to the official canvass according to the deadlines ordinarily imposed by state law, to the extent possible."

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MARCH 19

The state of California has issued a mandatory, stay-at-home order, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced at a press conference on Thursday evening, March 19. Employees of "critical sectors" are advised to go to work, according to a tweet from Newsom. Businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies and banks will remain open. More information is available on the state's new website dedicated to coronavirus updates, covid19.ca.gov.

The Santa Clara County Public Health Department has reported a total of 189 coronavirus cases, 14 of which were announced on Thursday, March 19.

Of the 189 cases, 70 are presumed community transmitted; 62 people are hospitalized; 18 are associated with international travel; 43 are close contacts of known cases and six people have died, according to the public health department.

In San Mateo County, 89 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and one person died from the disease as of Thursday, March 19, at 10:24 a.m.

Education

Stanford announced Thursday, March 19, that the university doesn't expect to be able to hold this year's commencement "in its traditional form" due to the "strong likelihood that prohibitions on large gatherings will remain in place by later this spring." Classes will also be taught online for all of spring quarter, through June. "We are making the decision in recognition of the seriousness of the global public health challenge in front of us, and we are making it now in order to assist your planning to the greatest extent possible," Provost Persis Drell said.

The Palo Alto Unified School District released on Thursday answers to a set of frequently asked questions from students and families, related to online learning offerings, teacher availability during school closures, grades and other issues. The district also said it will no longer send out announcements if students are diagnosed with COVID-19. "The County Public Health Department has said we should all operate as though everyone is exposed," the district said.

Businesses

Tootsie's at the Stanford Barn in Palo Alto has launched an "adopt a doc and a nurse" menu for people to donate meals to Stanford Hospital staff. People can choose a designated department or the hospital will determine where the food is most needed. To place an order, email catering@tootsiesbarn.com or text Tootsie's owner Rocco Scordella at 347-633-7132.

Preserves open, with restrictions: Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District preserves and trails are open to the public as is allowed during the current shelter-at-home directive but has put new health and safety measures in place, including: restrooms are closed effective Friday, March 20; areas with high use will be intermittently closed without notice to promote safe social distancing; group gathering areas are closed; and group activities are suspended. Preserve visitors are reminded to stay at home if they are sick, and to maintain social distances of at least 6 feet from others.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: March 18

A man in his 60s died from the coronavirus on Tuesday, March 17, marking the sixth death in Santa Clara County, the Public Health Department announced on Wednesday, March 18.

The man had been hospitalized since March 5 and died of the disease 12 days later, the department said in a press release Wednesday morning.

City declares emergency

The East Palo Alto City Council declared a local state of emergency during a meeting on Tuesday, March 17. The declaration allows the city manager to ask Gov. Gavin Newsom to proclaim the city to be in a state of emergency and to request a federal declaration to aid residents with financial aid for losses and emergency repairs.

Under the order, the city manager can also award contracts to repair, alter or improve city facilities without multiple bids and direct staff to roll out measures to respond to the spread of COVID-19. In addition, the city manager has jurisdiction over all public facilities and parks, which includes the ability to change hours of operations, close, or restrict access to public facilities.

The council will vote on additional emergency measures, including an emergency moratorium on evictions and protections for tenants, seniors, children, RV dwellers, small businesses, nonprofits, homeowners and other impacted groups at a later date.

For updates on the city's response to the coronavirus, visit facebook.com/CityOfEastPaloAlto.

Health organization responds

Sutter Health, which includes the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, has added an online symptom assessment for COVID-19, which builds on its existing medical symptom checker. Palo Alto Medical Foundation and other Sutter Health patients can access the assessment tool through their My Health Online portal.

The platform assesses the patient's symptoms and gives appropriate care options, from self-care to attending a walk-in clinic to seeking emergency assistance.

Sutter is also collecting test samples for COVID-19 and influenza in high-risk patients. Patients who feel ill should schedule a video visit or call their doctor to receive guidance and see if they meet the criteria for testing.

"It is important for patients to contact us first before visiting a care site, as you need a referral and appointment to get tested," Sutter said in a statement. "If your symptoms are mild to moderate, you do not need testing. Please stay home to rest, get well and prevent exposure to others."

Businesses

On March 17, Stanford Shopping Center closed temporarily to comply with the shelter-at-home order, stating: "We must all adhere strictly to these governmental orders — these are not merely advice or guidance, but instead mandatory legal requirements." Some restaurants at the mall remain open for takeout and/or delivery.

Grocery stores in Palo Alto have made special accommodations for seniors, who public health officials say face a higher risk for the coronavirus, amid the pandemic.

The downtown Whole Foods Market at 774 Emerson St. will exclusively service customers ages 60 and older from 8-9 a.m. (The store has also adjusted its hours to 9 a.m.-8 p.m.) The company also plans to restock shelves and sanitize surfaces after closing each day.

Piazza's Fine Foods at 3922 Middlefield Road at the Charleston Shopping Center will give seniors priority checkout from 7-8 a.m. daily. The store observed many seniors shopped during the store's first hours of operation, according to an Instagram post by the Piazza family.

"As with other matters during the current virus crisis, developments are fluid and we are prepared to make proper adjustments immediately as needed," the post states.

Piazza's recently adjusted its hours, which are now from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and has dedicated the last hour for "comprehensive cleaning, sanitizing and restocking of shelves."

In a tweet, Country Sun Natural Foods at 440 California Ave. announced that seniors will be given special access to its store on Wednesdays from 8-10 a.m. The market has also reduced its hours to 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

On Wednesday, Safeway announced that it would be reserving early-morning shopping hours for seniors and other vulnerable populations. Though the accommodations may change for each store, the company said in a social media post that all locations will designate 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays for seniors and at-risk community members, including pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems.

Those seeking to order online for pickup or delivery from Safeway may be faced with waits as long as one week as stores scramble to restock popular items after a surge of panic buying starting this month.

There are 10 Safeway locations on the Midpeninsula in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Los Altos, Mountain View, Woodside and Los Altos.

Raley's, the parent company operating the Nob Hill Foods on Grant Road in Mountain View, announced a long list of accommodations for seniors rolling out starting this week. Starting Thursday, March 19, the store will offer curbside pick-up for pharmacy prescriptions, though customers are expected to call and notify pharmacy staff ahead of time. The store will also have more time slots available for pickup and delivery for groceries starting Sunday.

Nob Hill is also expected to launch on Saturday a new program called "Senior Essential Bags," essentially pre-bagged groceries that will be available for curbside pickup at a discounted price for customers ages 65 and older or are otherwise considered at-risk. The company will have a $20 bag with fruit and pantry staples and a $35 bag with cooked, ready-to-eat meals.

"We call upon our customers to respect the intended purpose of this program, which is to serve seniors or those at risk," according to a statement released by the company.

The Rose International Market on Castro Street and El Camino Real in Mountain View is taking precautions amid concerns over the spread of COVID-19, but has not designated any store hours specifically for seniors.

Ava's Downtown Market & Deli in Mountain View is considering adjustments to its store schedule to accommodate at-risk customers starting Friday, store management said Thursday. The market does not have a large population of senior clients, they said. The Poke Bar inside the store has temporarily closed down because of the reduced foot traffic into the store, management said.

Bianchini's Market, which runs at Portola Valley store, will be open from 9-10 a.m. daily for people ages 65 and older, expectant mothers and community members with disabilities. The market has adjusted its operating hours to 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Roberts Market has designated a daily seniors shopping time from 9:30-10 a.m. at its Woodside store.

Target has also set aside the first hour of shopping on Wednesdays to "vulnerable guests," including seniors and people with underlying health conditions, according to a message from Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell. The company has locations in East Palo Alto and Mountain View.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: March 17

The Santa Clara County Public Health Department has reported a total of 175 coronavirus cases as of 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17.

Of the 175 cases, 70 are presumed community transmitted; 56 people are hospitalized; 18 are associated with international travel; 38 are close contacts of known cases and five people have died, according to the public health department.

The fifth death from COVID-19 was a man in his 50s. He was hospitalized on March 9 and died earlier in the day on Tuesday, according to the department.

The coronavirus pandemic continues to take a hit on daily life on the Midpeninsula, including in Palo Alto, where the City Council extended its state of emergency declaration by 60 days.

On Wednesday, March 18, at 1 p.m., the city of Palo Alto plans to roll out a Community Support Call Center where residents and businesses can find information related to the coronavirus crisis on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Residents can call the center at 650-272-3181.

The city has also created utility rate relief programs for residences and businesses. Palo Alto Utilities customers can expect a temporary ban on service shut-offs for not paying a bill, and extended repayment plans. The city has also expanded medical rate and financial rate assistance programs to help customers in financial hardship with a 25% discount on gas and electricity charges and 20% on storm drain charges, if eligible. More information on the programs can be found at cityofpaloalto.org. The city currently has a program that offers one-time bill assistance supported through customer donations. More details about that program can be found here.

The public health crisis has forced numerous operational changes at City Hall, however, the city will continue to stream meetings through the Midpeninsula Media Center. The Palo Alto-based company will also broadcast Palo Alto Board of Education meetings and other public meetings with its partner cities, according to Midpen Media CEO Keri Stokstad.

"Continuing this coverage is especially crucial for our cable viewers that depend on their local channels for information from their city representatives," Stokstad told the Weekly in an email.

The center has closed classes, events and equipment reservations, among other nonessential functions.

On Tuesday, March 17, Palo Alto Unified reported a Fletcher Middle School student has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Local residents have raised concerns about construction work continuing despite a shelter in place order that went into effect at midnight Tuesday. The order allows for work related to "Essential Infrastructure," such as public works construction and housing construction.

Local playgrounds

Midpeninsula cities have advised families to keep children away from playgrounds, reinforcing a public health order issued by local leaders to prevent COVID-19 from spreading to other community members.

In an email issue Tuesday, the Magical Bridge Playground called on the public to stay away from its playground in Palo Alto and other public playgrounds in the Bay Area.

"While this breaks our hearts, we know these necessary steps are needed to stop the spread of the Covid-19," the email states.

East Palo Alto's parks, in addition to restrooms at those sites, remain open, but playgrounds have been shut down through April 7, according to a press release.

Menlo Park has also suspended services at its playgrounds, which falls under the list of the city's closed buildings and facilities in response to the pandemic, according to an email sent Monday morning. Parks will stay open, but organized or team activities have been banned.

Congresswoman taking questions

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, is holding tele-town hall meetings to provide an update on Congress' actions in response to the new coronavirus and to answer questions. The meetings will be held on Wednesday, March 18, from 2:55-3:55 p.m. and Thursday, March 19, from 4:15-5:15 p.m.

"During these challenging and uncertain times, it's essential for me to hear from you directly, and ensure that you and your loved ones have the information you need to stay safe and healthy," Eshoo said in a statement.

Anyone interested in participating in the meetings can sign up here. Constituents can also register by texting "REPANNAESHOO" to 833-898-5483.

Jewish Family and Children’s Services, which runs a center in Palo Alto, remains open with staff functioning as first responders, Executive Director Anita Friedman said in a statement on Tuesday, March 17. The organization is offering specific services for seniors, adults, families and parents during the COVID-19 crisis through its action alert program.

All JFCS clinics and group social programs have been canceled. Instead, social work and medical staff are serving every client in their own home, Friedman said. Clients and patients receiving services can call the JFCS Bay Area Critical Help Line at 415-449-3700. The agency is continuing to provide home care to its older adult clients and patients and deliver cooked meals and groceries. It has implemented a “Safe At Home Program” to closely monitor high-risk and lone elderly and disabled clients.

Emergency counseling is available for people who need help coping with the crisis. Online workshops are available to help parents understand how to help their children with the added anxiety that they may be experiencing. Parents can also find tips on supporting children here and how to help children manage stress here.

JFCS is also asking for donations to its Community Emergency Fund, which has a $500,000 matching grant. In addition, volunteers are needed for several activities, including making phone calls to isolated, homebound seniors and purchasing and delivering groceries (such as Passover care packages) to Holocaust survivors, frail seniors and homebound disabled adults. Details on services, volunteer opportunities and making donations can be found here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: March 16

Residents of six Bay Area counties, including Santa Clara and San Mateo, are being ordered to stay at home for all but "essential reasons" for the next three weeks starting at 12:01 a.m., Tuesday, March 17, as the cases of COVID-19 continue to rise.

The order makes exceptions for people to leave their homes for work related to health care, infrastructure and "essential activities," such as gathering necessary supplies (for example, canned foods, dry goods and pet supplies).

The Santa Clara County Public Health Department has confirmed 24 additional cases of COVID-19 virus, totaling 138 as of 5 p.m. on March 15. Of those, 63 are presumed community transmitted; 52 people are hospitalized; 17 are associated with international travel; 30 are close contacts of known cases and two people have died, the health department announced on Monday afternoon. In San Mateo County, 41 people have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Monday, and the county announced its first death due to the coronavirus.

Two more people have died from COVID-19 infections, bringing the total to four within Santa Clara County, county public health officials said on Monday afternoon, March 16. Two men — a man in his 50s and one in his 80s — died on March 15. The man in his 50s was hospitalized beginning March 12; the older man entered the hospital on March 7.

San Mateo County has issued guidance regarding its county "shelter-in-place" order for COVID-19: smcgov.org/shelter-place-faqs.

Santa Clara County Superior Court

The clerk's office will be closed to the public. Potential jurors scheduled to appear March 16-30 for service are excused and mustn't arrive at court. Empaneled jurors already in trial will receive instruction on a case-by-case basis. The court strongly encourages social distancing and using CourtCall (1-888-88-COURT) to appear telephonically whenever possible.

Only the following essential functions will go forward during this time: Criminal Courthouse Hall of Justice: In-custody arraignments including: misdemeanors, felonies, domestic violence and parole violations. In- and out-of-custody family violence arraignments, time not waived preliminary hearings and collaborative courts parole violations.

Family Justice Center Courthouse: Domestic violence restraining orders; juvenile dependency detentions; mental health emergency review.

Civil Courthouse Downtown Superior Courthouse: Civil harassment restraining orders; mental health conservatorships; conservatorship and elder abuse; writ temporary restraining orders.

Juvenile Justice: Juvenile detentions.

To check the status of continued matters visit here.

Coronavirus testing

Verily, a subsidiary of Alphabet, has launched an online tool to help screen patients for COVID-19 testing. The tool, called Project Baseline, triages people who are concerned about their COVID-19 risk and sends them to testing sites if they fit criteria based on their symptoms, according to an announcement by the company.

The pilot program is available to residents of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties who can take the screener survey starting Monday, March 16.

To use the screening tool, visit projectbaseline.com.

Local schools respond

In light of school closures, announced on Friday, March 13, both the Palo Alto Unified and Ravenswood City school districts are providing free meals for all students at pick-up sites during the school closures. More information about the Palo Alto Unified meals and pick-up locations can be found here and Ravenswood, here.

The Ravenswood Education Foundation has launched an emergency fund to provide financial relief related to the school closures for families, teachers and staff in the Ravenswood City School District in East Palo Alto. The district is working to identify needs for the funds, including food access and distribution; support with rent, bills and groceries; and distance learning.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: March 14-15

New cases of COVID-19

In Santa Clara County, which has the most cases of any county in California, the number of people confirmed to have COVID-19 jumped from 79 to 114 between Friday and Sunday. Of those, two people have died, 48 are hospitalized; 52 cases were a result of community transmission.

San Mateo County reported its first death due the coronavirus this weekend, an older adult with underlying medical conditions. The county did not release further information. In San Mateo County, 31 people have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Sunday, March 15. The number of cases stood at 20 on Friday.

State of California

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new state restrictions in a Sunday press conference, including home isolation of everyone in the state over age 65, closure of all bars, wineries and nightclubs and requiring restaurants to reduce their occupancy by half. Newsom also said that 51% of all California school districts have closed and that 80-85% of all students statewide will no longer be in class starting Monday, March 16.

"These are profoundly significant steps in real time and they're significant steps up from two days ago," Newsom said. "We're guided deeply not by anxiety, not by fear but a very pragmatic response to meet this moment without creating other unintended consequences."

City of Palo Alto

The City of Palo Alto activated its emergency operations center on Sunday, March 15, and is launching a community support call center early this week. Mayor Adrian Fine is also convening a meeting of the Citizen Corps Council, which provides coordination between government and community institutions including Stanford University and Healthcare, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Palo Alto Unified School District, as well as business and volunteer organizations.

Palo Alto will keep all libraries and community centers closed starting Saturday in response to the coronavirus and recent guidance from Santa Clara County, the city announced Friday evening. As of Friday, all in-person library programs and services in Mountain View have been canceled or postponed through April 6.

The city, which had already canceled more than 30 events, is also instituting a hiring freeze, City Manager Ed Shikada announced Friday.

In addition to libraries, the city will keep the Palo Alto Art Center, the Mitchell Park Community Center, the Lucie Stern Community Center, the Junior Museum and Zoo, the Children’s Theatre and Rinconada Pool closed as of Saturday. The Palo Alto Animal Shelter will also be closed and all events at programs at Cubberley Community Center will be suspended.

Tenants at Cubberley may modify or suspend their activities in accordance with county guidance, the city announced, referring to the county’s Friday order banning all events with more than 100 people and requiring precautionary measures for all events with more than 35 people.

Stanford Health Care

Stanford Health Care announced on Sunday, March 15, that drive-through appointments for Stanford Medicine's COVID-19 test are now available for patients who have been referred by their medical providers. Patients remain in their cars for the tests, which take a few minutes and are administered by a physician, advanced practice provider or nurse outfitted in protective clothing, including a gown, goggles, mask and gloves, Stanford Health Care said. Patients will be notified of their COVID-19 test results within 24 hours; if the result is positive, their doctors will make sure they get appropriate care, which can range from hospitalization for people showing severe symptoms to telemedicine visits and self-quarantine for those with mild cases. The drive-through tests are available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week, at Express Care's Hoover Pavilion location in Palo Alto. Patients can call 650-498-9000 to speak with a nurse who will assess the next step for their care.

Businesses

Safeway supermarkets in Palo Alto, Mountain View and Menlo Park have shortened their hours to enable staff to restock the shelves and clean the stores, according to signs posted on the doors and phone recordings. The Safeways are open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. with the following exceptions, which are open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.: Menlo Park at 525 El Camino Real; Mountain View at 645 San Antonio Road.

Mass transit

Caltrain is reducing its weekday service "in response to a significant decline in ridership stemming from efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus." The changes are effective Tuesday, March 17.

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), the multi-billion dollar agency that plans and operates the county's road and transit network, announced today, March 14, that starting on Monday, March 16, it will reduce capacity on its light rail vehicles, running one-car trains instead of two- and three-car trains. It will also suspend its school-trip service for three weeks in light of school closures.

Churches

Bishop Oscar Cantu asked all parishes, missions and chapels in the Diocese of San José to suspend public masses beginning today, March 14, until further notice. There are diocese churches in Palo Alto, Mountain View and Los Altos.

San Mateo County

The San Mateo County health department announced Saturday evening that it is banning gatherings of more than 50 people for three weeks starting on Sunday. The order also advises against get togethers of more than 10 people. This amends its Thursday order, which barred all gatherings larger than 250 people starting on Friday.

The health department issued an order on Friday to close all schools in the county for three weeks starting Monday.

San Mateo County Libraries announced on Friday that all of its library branches would close starting Monday until March 31.

On Friday, the San Mateo County Probation Department suspended visitation at the Youth Services Center – Juvenile Hall and the Margaret J. Kemp Camp (Camp Kemp) facilities until further notice to curb the spread of the virus.

San Mateo County and Parks will stay open, but the county is taking immediate protective actions, county officials said Friday. Visitors will pay at designated pay stations rather than at gate house; all staff and docent-led events, including hikes and tours, are canceled through March; the Bicycle Sunday event is canceled through March and the Parks department's main office in Redwood City and Coyote Point Marina office will be closed to the public indefinitely.

Menlo Park declared a local state of emergency on Thursday, closing City Hall and other facilities. Atherton followed suit on Friday, canceling events and scaling back public meetings.

Nonprofits and events

Organizations are also announcing temporary closures. In Palo Alto, the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center will close for at least two weeks starting Sunday night, March 15, according to a March 13 email from CEO Zack Bodner.

Preschool and Club J will be closed as well. However, he wrote, "In the coming days, we will be working to find creative ways to keep connecting people with each other, whether that is through distance learning or exercise broadcasts or check-ins with isolated people in our community."

There has not been any confirmed case of COVID-19 at the JCC, the email stated.

"At this time, we will not be able to issue refunds for March membership or tuition," Bodner wrote.

The annual Stanford Powwow, which takes place on Mother's Day weekend, has also been canceled, organizers said on their website.

On Thursday, Little House Activity Center and the Rosener House Adult Care center, two Menlo Park programs that cater to seniors, will be closed as of the end of the day Friday for two weeks.

For a look at how the public health emergency has affected arts organizations, go here .

PREVIOUS UPDATES: March 13

Public health

A second person in Santa Clara County has died of COVID-19, the Santa Clara Public Health Department announced on March 13. The woman was in her 80s, and she was hospitalized on March 9. The department did not include any information on the woman's city of residence. It also did not make a spokesperson available to the media.

She was among the latest cases of COVID-19 announced by the department. There are 79 cases as of March 13, which accounts for more than a quarter of the cases in the state, which has 277, including four deaths.

Santa Clara County Public Health officials on March 13 ordered all public schools to close for three weeks, starting Monday, March 16, through April 3. Palo Alto schools, Mountain View and Los Altos schools will be closed for one month since spring break is scheduled to start on April 4. San Mateo County health officials also directed their county’s schools to close.

The Santa Clara County Public Health Department also banned all gatherings of 100 persons or more.

Restaurants in Santa Clara County were also given new restrictions on March 13 to reduce spread of the novel coronavirus, including specific guidance on intensive cleaning, personal hygiene and options for delivery of foods.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: March 12

Cities respond

On March 12, both Palo Alto and Mountain View declared states of emergency. Emergency declarations allow local jurisdictions to activate their emergency plans and become eligible for reimbursements from federal and state governments.

East Palo Alto also announced several steps it would be taking to minimize the spread of the virus, including making arrangements for delivery of meals for senior citizens, increasing its cleaning of public areas under the city's jurisdiction and hiring a contractor to supplement the cleaning efforts.

The city also stated it will close the Senior Center Management for one week, a decision that was made by agreement with the facility, Mayor Regina Wallace-Jones said. City officials are participating in daily briefings with regional emergency management staff and minimizing public gatherings that have more than 50 attendees and that may include vulnerable populations. These gatherings are being reviewed on a case-by-case basis, according to the announcement.

Wallace-Jones urged residents to take seriously the guidelines that have been provided to the community by the San Mateo County Health Department.

"As the medical experts guiding our county through this crisis, their advice is science based and intended to save lives," Wallace-Jones wrote. "This is not the time to question the practices they have recommended, as not doing so may put your health at risk or illness or even death."

East Palo Alto is also monitoring developments in the coronavirus outbreak and is communicating with San Mateo County leaders and the CDC. East Palo Alto residents can find more information from their city and county at smchealth.org.

Local schools respond

On March 12, the Palo Alto Board of Education decided that it will not close schools in the face of the coronavirus but has decided to offer online-learning options to families who wish their children to remain at home. (This decision was reversed the next day, following county orders.)

Tech companies respond

Read the latest update on how local tech companies and their employees are impacted by the coronavirus: Local tech companies' best defense against the coronavirus — work from home

State of California responds

California could have thousands of more test kits and multiple new laboratories up and running to detect the virus associated with the COVID-19 infection as soon as next week, Gov. Gavin Newson said during a Thursday press conference. Only 48 hours ago, Santa Clara County officials said their county laboratory could only process 30 to 40 tests per day, and Stanford University's laboratory, which has a new FDA-approved test, could only run 80 to 100 tests per day.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: March 11

SCC Public Health

On Wednesday, March 11, the White House coronavirus task force announced 30-day "mitigation strategies" for Santa Clara County. The strategies, the task force announced, are "designed to address the effects of COVID-19 on areas that are experiencing community spread." The group also released a separate set of strategies for Seattle-King, Pierce and Snohomish counties in Washington state, which as of Wednesday has the most cases in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The plan for Santa Clara County includes strategies for individuals, schools, senior facilities, workplaces and community- and faith-based organizations. Individuals are being advised to monitor local information, ensure a 30-day supply of medicine and wash their hands. Those at risk of severe illness should stay at home and avoid gatherings with 10 or more people.

Schools are advised to arrange distance learning and e-learning for students at risk of severe illness. They are also asked to adopt "social distancing" measures by canceling large gatherings, limiting interschool interactions and altering schedules to reduce mixing, possibly by staggering recess times. Other measures include extending spring breaks, canceling all school-associated congregations and conducting regular health checks.

The task force recommends assisted-living and senior-living facilities to undertake "social distancing" measures and limiting programs with external staff. They should also consider suspending visitor access, implementing short-term closures as needed for cleaning and contact tracing and opting for longer-term closure or quarantine of facilities until the situation is resolved. The group recommends facilities screen temperature and respiratory symptoms of attendees and staff. Staff should wear masks and wash hands before entering and after existing rooms of inhabitants.

Workplaces are asked to encourage staff to telework, expand sick leave policies, eliminate large work-related gatherings and cancel nonessential work travel as well as work-sponsored conferences. Community- and faith-based organizations are advised to cancel large gatherings, as well as professional and college sporting events. Those organizations that serve high-risk communities are asked to cancel gatherings of more than 10 people and to stagger access to support services.

According to the task force's announcement, the mitigation strategies are recommended for 30 days, after which time local and state public health officials, in coordination with CDC, will reassess the individual community situations.

Hours after the strategies were released, Santa Clara County issued a statement that said it was "pleased" the White House adopted many of the local Public Health Department's previously issued recommendations. At the same time, the county also called on local residents to adhere to the county's ban on events with 1,000 people or more that went into effect Wednesday and cancel large events, including but not limited to ones expected to bring 250 people or more.

"We continue to work in partnership with public health experts at the CDC, the state of California, and other significantly impacted communities to issue guidance to the public," according to the statement. "We will continue to make decisions based on the best evidence available, locally relevant data on COVID-19, and the expertise of our public health officials."

San Mateo County update

As of Wednesday, March 11, San Mateo County has reported 15 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. The county issued a statement that signaled an aggressive approach to minimizing the risk of contracting coronavirus.

Stanford University responds

Stanford University announced on March 11 two new confirmed coronavirus cases, including one in Stanford Medicine as well as one on the main campus. A School of Medicine faculty member also tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

Also on March 11, Stanford University Athletics closed upcoming competitions to the public through May 15. The action is in accordance with a Santa Clara County order banning events expected bring to 1,000 people or more. Read more here.

State of California responds

On March 11, California public health officials stated that non-essential gatherings of 250 or more people should be postponed or canceled until the end of March. At smaller events, attendees should keep six feet between themselves.

"Changing our actions for a short period of time will save the life of one or more people you know," said Gov. Gavin Newsom. "That's the choice before us. Each of us has extraordinary power to slow the spread of this disease." The full public health policy is posted here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: March 10

San Mateo County update

San Mateo County has opened a call center to take questions from residents with nonmedical questions about novel coronavirus and declared a state of emergency on March 10.

SCC Public Health response

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on March 10 unanimously voted to extend the county's health emergency in its effort to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus, which has killed one person and infected 44 others over the past six weeks.

The supervisors heard from several agency heads and elected officials, including county Chief Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody, Sheriff Laurie Smith and representatives from the Social Services Agency, Emergency Medical Services, Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), Office of Supportive Housing, Office of Education, the Santa Clara Valley Health and Hospital System and others.

"It's all hands on deck. We each have a role to play," Cody told the supervisors.

"This is a new virus and no one has immunity to it, so it's going to spread," she said. The goal now is to slow the virus down so that large waves of ill people aren't overwhelming the health system, she said.

The various departments are focusing on identifying people in the most vulnerable populations who might have the virus and could spread the illness within their communities, including the homeless, prisoners in county jails and the elderly, particularly those living in senior care facilities. At the same time, they want to identify ways to protect workers who don't have health insurance and might be laid off so they can still be paid, receive medical care and keep their housing.

Multiple agencies said they are ramping up their deep cleaning efforts. VTA Chief of System, Safety and Security Angelique Galleda said the transportation agency, which operates the county's bus and light-rail systems, is looking to do advanced cleaning on buses, ticket-vending machines and other surfaces where riders make contact and is adding messaging on light-rail platforms and buses with tips on how people can help prevent spreading the virus.

Sharon Henry, head of Envision Integrated Delivery's American Medical Response ambulance services, which operates the county's ambulance system, said portable fogging units can spray the entire interior of an ambulance with disinfectant and kill all germs, including the coronavirus, within minutes.

Smith said there are no active or suspected COVID-19 cases in Santa Clara County jail facilities, but the inmate population remains at high risk because it is a closed facility. Her office is looking for ways to limit the number of people housed in the facilities, including asking the court to postpone sentencing schedules and to find alternatives such as electronic monitoring for people who are criminally low risk. The department wants to establish isolated and quarantined areas in the jails if there is an outbreak, she said. They are also limiting who can come into the jails, suspending classes and having visits through windows rather than personal-contact visits, she said.

Churches and nonprofits

On Monday, March 10, a Palo Alto Church reported that a person with COVID-19 had been in a classroom at the Cowper Street church, and a relative of the person had been on campus on March 7. Faith communities are reporting the cancellation of in-person services and other campus activities, turning to livestreaming and social media to continue services to their members.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: March 9

Public Health response

Santa Clara County issued its first mandatory, legal order in response to the new coronavirus outbreak: banning all events of 1,000 people or more starting this Wednesday, March 11, at midnight. The ban will remain in place until March 31, County Counsel James Williams said during a press conference at the sheriff's office's headquarters in San Jose on Monday, March 9.

The emergency order, which was issued by Dr. Sara Cody, would make it illegal to hold any such large gathering. The rule will be enforced by the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office and police departments in individual cities. Law enforcement agencies will have discretion on how to enforce the order, Williams said.

The order, which was made under state and county health and safety ordinances, does not include airports or shopping malls, where people are in transit and are not likely to be close together. Schools are also not mandated for closure.

Twenty-one of the county's COVID-19 cases were transmitted within the community, Cody said Monday. A large proportion of those cases are hospitalized.

As more tests take place through commercial laboratories, Cody said she expects to see a smaller number of hospitalized cases in relation to a larger number of people who test positive for the infection.

Cody said her department is carefully following data on the illness and made the decision to cancel events after seeing an uptick in cases over the last five days.

"It was a tipping point for us," she said.

First COVID-19 death

The order comes on the heels of the county's first fatality from the virus, which occurred on Monday morning, March 9, when a woman who had been under treatment at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View for several weeks succumbed to COVID-19, according to the Public Health Department.

The woman, who was the county's third case reported on Feb. 28, was in her 60s; her name has not been released to the public. She was the first case in the county to contract COVID-19 without recently traveling out of the country or coming into contact with a person carrying the disease. Cody said the woman had underlying health conditions but did not specify the nature of those conditions.

The news is a "tragic development," the department said in a statement. New cases have been announced every day this week: Six on March 9, five on March 8, eight on March 7. The department did not provide further information on these new cases. Over Twitter, the department has said that it's "not unexpected to have more cases" and that the cases are currently under investigation.

The county is also looking to provide supportive housing and shelter to homeless persons who need to self-isolate, County Executive Jeffrey Smith said during the March 9 press conference.

City of Palo Alto response

On Monday, March 9, the city of Palo Alto announced more than 30 events were modified or canceled through the end of the month in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The city has also made operational changes, including supplying protective gear for field staff and setting up more hand sanitizer stations.

"The city anticipates more details to be released later this week on longer-term planning and potential service delivery modifications," according to an announcement from City Manager Ed Shikada's office.

Nonprofits’ response

The Silicon Valley Community Foundation, based in Mountain View, has set up a regional response fund to support organizations that are leading public health and housing efforts in each Bay Area county. In Santa Clara County, funds will go to Destination: Home, a public-private partnership which will provide financial resources and help to people at risk of homelessness if coronavirus-related disruptions worsen. In San Mateo County, funds will go to support the county's core service agencies, which provide emergency housing and financial assistance for rent, mortgage, utilities, medical and transportation costs for people who risk homelessness due to hardships related to the new coronavirus outbreak. More information is available here.

Tech companies respond

On Monday, March 9, NASA Ames Research Center required employees work from home after learning a day earlier that one of its employees tested positive for the new coronavirus.

"The safety of our employees and their families is our top priority. Any decisions we have made, or will make, is with the safety of our workforce in mind," according to a NASA Ames statement.

Business has remained mostly normal at cloud infrastructure company VMware. The tech giant was informed last week by one of its employees that their spouse had contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, the Palo Alto-based company said in an email to the Weekly on Monday, March 9.

The employee, who is in self-isolation for 14 days, and their spouse have not shown symptoms of the new coronavirus. The company reopened the office the employee worked in on Monday morning, March 9, after a temporary closure that started at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4, for the company to conduct a deep clean and disinfection of the building.

"Since this is a secondary contact situation, there is minimal risk of contagion based on guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control," the company said. "Our Palo Alto campus and all other buildings remain open. However, any employee who would prefer to work from home is welcome to do so."

PREVIOUS UPDATES: March 4-8

Stanford University update

On Thursday, March 5, Stanford University announced it was treating a "few" patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.

A community message by Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne didn't specify how many patients are receiving care through Stanford Medicine but said staff following reporting regulations by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and Santa Clara County.

Stanford has an emergency operations team assessing the community's risk and advising the university on ways to respond to the evolving situation, Tessier-Lavigne said. Stanford Health Care has developed a new diagnostic test approved by the Food and Drug Administration that could offer results in 12 to 24 hours.

VA Hospital treats patient

The Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System's Palo Alto hospital confirmed that it is caring for a veteran who has tested positive for the disease and was transferred to the facility from another California county.

Due to privacy laws, Chief Communication Manager Armenthis Lester could not release information regarding the patient's age, gender or condition.

The patient is in isolation and under the care of staff trained in the latest treatment guidelines provided by the CDC. Staff members are also utilizing personal protective equipment and infection control techniques. The VA is preparing to receive other former service members diagnosed with the virus and has set aside a portion of the campus, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie confirmed during his testimony on Capitol Hill on March 4.

"We prepared a swath, a section of our Palo Alto campus to receive veterans who have this virus. We set it up for that, and that veteran is being taken care of there," Wilkie told lawmakers on the House Appropriations Committee.

"(The) VA is screening veterans and staff who present with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath who meet the CDC criteria for evaluation of COVID-19 infection," Lester said.

New cases confirmed

Six COVID-19 cases announced March 5 involved three women and three men, according to Santa Clara County Counsel James Williams, who also serves as director of the county's Emergency Operations Center. Of the six people, four have self-isolated at home and were contacts of other known cases; two others have been hospitalized. Many of the cases have mild symptoms or have shown no symptoms, which is consistent with other cases around the globe, he added.

Four cases announced March 6 are not related to each other, according to a statement by the department. One of the cases is a man who is a household contact of a previous county case. The second is a female who is hospitalized. The third is a male who recently traveled to India and has been hospitalized. The fourth case is a male who has isolated himself at home.

The department is looking into how the second and fourth cases might have contracted the illness.

"The Public Health Department will continue to identify anyone who has come into contact with these cases," staff said in a statement. "The department also will be conducting community surveillance to determine the extent of possible disease spread in our community."

The statement did not specify the protocols or extent of the surveillance.

The first two cases reported in January involved travelers who arrived in the county from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the viral disease that has since been on lockdown. Though both patients had mild symptoms and did not require hospitalization, they remain in quarantine, according to public health staff. The first case has recovered, the department announced Feb. 20.

SCC Public Health responds

Santa Clara County Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody at a March 6 press conference announced new guidance for county businesses and residents. Businesses have been urged to cancel nonessential travel and not require doctors notes from employees who are sick to alleviate the workload of already burdened medical providers.

New recommendations for businesses include expanding telecommuting options and staggering start and end times for workdays to minimize close contact between employees. The space between their contact should be no less than 3 feet apart, she added.

As it has in the past, county leaders at the press conference urged that large gatherings such as sporting events and conferences should be canceled. People who are most at risk due to pre-existing conditions or who are over the age of 50 should not attend large gatherings, she said.

Worldwide and in the U.S., there have not been many cases of children who have the disease, she said. Currently, county health leaders are not recommending school closures. The county will review that recommendation on a case-by-case basis if staff members or others in the school community are confirmed to have the coronavirus, she said.

"As much as possible, we really want children to go along with their lives and to continue their education that's so important for them," she said.

School districts should carefully consider the costs of benefits of closing their campuses, which has the potential to have a large impact, particularly for employed parents and their workplaces, she added.

Noting the recent hoarding of essentials at the Mountain View Costco and other locations, Cindy Chavez, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, urged people not to panic.

"If any of you've been to a Costco lately you'll know that ... we're teetering on the brink of not being calm and not being thoughtful. We want to make sure we're not hoarding goods that should be used for medical purposes and we're really being mindful that we are part of a community," she said at the press conference.

Local schools respond

On Friday, March 6, a student and staff members at the Menlo Park City School District were asked to stay home after learning they may have been exposed to the coronavirus.

Tech companies respond

Menlo Park-based Facebook is following through on the county's guidance by recommending a large portion of its workforce to begin working from home starting Friday, March 6.

Cities keep watch

As of Sunday, March 8, there were no confirmed local cases of the coronavirus in Palo Alto, City Manager Ed Shikada said in an email. The VA Palo Alto is caring for a patient who was transferred from another California county and is in isolation. The city is continuing to monitor reports of exposures to the disease.

Employees and community are advised to stay home if they are sick and alert city managers "of any unusual circumstances that could indicate exposure."

"We're on top of it as much as any agency can be, recognizing there are unknowns and many possible scenarios ahead of us," Shikada said.

The city also plans to prioritize hygiene at upcoming city events and is conducting a review of its "operational contingency plans."

City leaders have re-emphasized hygienic practices during the flu season and special protocols to its police officers and firefighters. Palo Alto is also maintaining communication with the county, school district, Stanford University and other agencies.

The city has created a webpage that will be regularly updated with information on the coronavirus and local response to the outbreak at cityofpaloalto.org.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: Feb. 28-March 4

New cases confirmed in SCC

The number of known cases of the coronavirus has steadily increased within the county since Feb. 28, when there were only two. On that day, the county's Public Health Department reported a new case — an older woman who was hospitalized for a respiratory illness and has chronic health conditions. (She died from the disease on March 9.)

On Feb. 29, the county reported another case — a woman who is a "household contact" of the case reported Feb. 28. She has isolated herself at home, the county reported. Neither woman had recently traveled nor knowingly come into contact with someone who had recently traveled — a strong indication that the virus is now spreading throughout the community, according to the department.

On March 1, the Public Health Department confirmed three more cases of the coronavirus. One case involves an adult woman who concurrently has chronic health conditions, according to public health staff. An investigation into her case is ongoing, the department said in a statement.

The two other cases involve a couple, a husband with chronic health conditions and his wife, who recently traveled to Egypt. All three people are currently being hospitalized for the disease.

Two other cases reported on March 2 were two men who have isolated themselves at home. One man is a "household contact" of a confirmed case in another county. The other man is a "household contact" of a previous case in Santa Clara County.

Two more cases involving a woman and man currently in the hospital were reported on March 3. They remain under investigation to determine the source of transmission, according to the county Public Health Department. No information regarding age or condition of the patients was released during a press conference Tuesday at the Santa Clara County Emergency Operations Center.

The county announced an additional two cases on March 4. One case is a man currently hospitalized and currently under investigation to determine how he was exposed to the virus. Two more cases are both men who "are close contacts of an existing case," according to the county. The pair are isolated at home.

SCC Public Health response

On Friday, Feb. 28, county Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said the county has implemented isolation and quarantine in response to the reported cases over the past five weeks but is taking further actions.

The county's public health lab has testing kits from the CDC, she said at a press conference in San Jose. The county's emergency operations center is getting support from assistance teams from the California Department of Public Health and the CDC.

The Public Health Department encourages the public to take proactive measures to slow down the spread of the disease. Staff recommend people frequently wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after touching surfaces such as doorknobs, elevator buttons, handrails and countertops. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is also recommended if hand-washing is not available. Officials also instruct the public to cough into a tissue or their elbow and avoid touching their faces.

The best current evidence shows that people are at higher risk for the coronavirus if they are ages 50 or older, Dr. Sara Cody, the county's public health officer, said at a March 3 press conference.

The risk of infection and its severity accelerates with age, so someone who is 60 years old is more vulnerable to the illness than someone who is 50, and someone 70 years old is at greater risk for severe infection than someone who is 60. Persons ages 80 and above are at the greatest risk.

People with underlying medical conditions are also at greater risk. These include: cardiovascular disease, heart disease, diabetes, chronic lung conditions, cancer and compromised immune systems. Persons with these conditions should avoid large gatherings such as concerts, parades and sporting events. Organizations serving seniors are recommended to cancel large gatherings, such as bingo games and movie screenings, and to clean all surfaces with disinfectants including phones, keyboards, tablets and door handles.

The recommendations do not include avoiding office environments or grocery stores where people do not typically gather tightly together.

The county Public Health Department is publishing updates on local cases at sccgov.org.

Local schools respond

Concerns over the disease have climbed at Palo Alto Unified School District, which sent home two students on Friday, Feb. 28, after learning their parent had been exposed to the disease. The students attend Palo Alto High School and JLS Middle School, Superintendent Don Austin said.

A team has formed at the district to evaluate the situation and provide information once it's available, Austin said in his Feb. 28 message to parents.

The district learned the parent was reportedly in "public proximity to an infected person" but that "there is no indication of infection at this time," Lana Conaway, the district's assistant superintendent of equity and student affairs, said on Feb. 28.

She encouraged parents and students to wash their hands often and to stay home if they have any symptoms, including fever or respiratory distress. Crews did an "aggressive" cleaning of all hard surfaces at JLS and Paly over the weekend, according to Conaway.

Also over the following weekend, an online petition emerged asking the district to take additional precautions, including starting spring break early and extending it to two weeks and providing online learning options to students who choose to stay home.

In a message to families on Sunday, March 1, Austin said that the district has consulted with a variety of public officials and health professionals and he does not see a reason to close schools at this point.

"As a Palo Alto resident, I see large crowds in supermarkets, parks, theaters, airports, restaurants and public places. They are operating as usual with no call for closures," he wrote. "Closing schools at this point would not eliminate the infinite interactions our students would have beyond PAUSD. We understand the responsibility afforded to PAUSD while caring for your students and treat the work seriously. We cannot control every aspect of student or community life, which is the only way a quarantine works."

He asked community members to "limit speculation and overreactions."

The district is continuing to follow guidance from the California Department of Public Health and the CDC.

(Read more about the virus' impact on local schools here.)

On Tuesday, March 3, Menlo School in Atherton announced that the school would be closed through the weekend after learning a staff member had contact with a relative with the coronavirus, according to a letter by Head of School Than Healy. The school has canceled all school-related activities, including classes, sports, arts activities, club meetings and planned field trips.

In tandem with news of the VA case, parents with students in a high school work program that's held after school at the VA hospital in Palo Alto received a notice regarding the coronavirus case on Tuesday, March 3.

"We will be suspending student participation in the VA program for the present time. ... At no time has there been an elevated risk to student safety," Kristen Hardy, director of special education for the Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District, said in an email.

About 14 special education students from the district, mainly from Mountain View High School, but also Los Altos High School and the district's adult school, spend about an hour and a half at the VA hospital on weekdays gaining work experience, according to Kathy Brenner, an education specialist at the Mountain View-Los Altos district.

The decision, made in consultation with district administrators, comes out of considerations that some students have compromised immune systems and others may not always wash their hands according to best practices, she said.

"We just want to keep our kids safe. We don't want to overreact either, but we'd rather be safe than sorry," she said.

The district partners with other student work sites, so students who have been at the hospital will be temporarily reassigned and will gain exposure to other work experiences, she said.

The school district changed students' schedules and pick-up times from Mountain View and Los Altos high schools through March 30 and will be reviewing the changes with Palo Alto Unified School District. Case managers are working with students, she said.

Woodside Priory, a private school for students in grades 6 through 12, has canceled events for its Service Week scheduled March 16-20, including two trips to Guatemala and Costa Rica, according to an email from Director of Communications Kelly Sargent.

The school also plans to keep dormitories open during Easter break, scheduled April 6-13, to give students the choice to stay on campus instead of traveling and "due to international air travel uncertainty," Sargent said.

Stanford University update

On Tuesday, March 3, Stanford University decided to postpone or cancel events on and off campus likely to attract 150 or more people, including Grad Alumni Day, the SIEPR Economic Summit, Holy Week Easter Services, Second Sunday Family Days at the Cantor Arts Center and Anderson Collection, and all Department of Music concerts scheduled through at least April 15. Stanford Athletics will continue to hold all sporting competitions at this time, with limited public attendance. The University said it will offer increased opportunities for livestreaming events. A full list of event changes can be found at news.stanford.edu.

Tech companies respond

LinkedIn has heeded the county's warning, telling its Bay Area employees to do any work that can be done remotely at home through the end of March to mitigate the spread of the virus. Employees have also been asked to postpone all nonessential business travel and will not participate in external events in March and April, according to LinkedIn spokeswoman Kenly Walker. LinkedIn, headquartered in Sunnyvale and Mountain View, will not be shutting down its offices and intends to provide the same level of service to customers, members and partners, she added.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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

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Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

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Comments

76 people like this
Posted by Anne
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 2, 2020 at 11:00 am

Well, it’s 9 cases already. I wonder what measures they’re going to take to protect us. As far as today, my children are at their respective Palo Alto schools and I’m concerned about this virus being disguised in the community. Soon it’s going to be hundreds of us and no one will know how the virus has spread.


39 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2020 at 11:09 am

The panic buying of food as well as hygiene products has left shelves empty and big profits for retailers that sell them.

There are petitions to close schools and petitions to bring Spring Break forward.

It is really up to us. Handwashing properly and not touching "things" with bare hands such as the water fountains, door handles, light switches, as well as the taps/faucets at sinks.

Now might not be the time to use reusable grocery bags touched by others, or to convert to anything that may have been touched by multiple people. From serving utensils at the salad bar, to the touch pads at atms and places to swipe credit cards, people are touching what you are touching.

Life will go on. If any of us get sick, it will be a bit unpleasant, but few of us will die unless we are older, have other health problems, smoke or are stupid.




54 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2020 at 11:17 am

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> Life will go on. If any of us get sick, it will be a bit unpleasant, but few of us will die unless we are older, have other health problems, smoke or are stupid.

Of course, quite a "few of us" actually "are older".

Speaking of which, do PAMF, Stanford Hospital, Sequoia Hospital, El Camino Hospital all have designated entrance locations for people with possible contagious respiratory infections? It might be nice to see an article explaining to people where they should go if they need treatment.


55 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 2, 2020 at 11:26 am

The most important thing we can all do is stay home if you feel sick. This applies to the common cold and flu as well as the coronavirus. What are local employers doing to keep their sick employees at home? Do they have proper sick leave policies in place, especially for lower-paid workers and customer service workers?


72 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 2, 2020 at 11:26 am

Schools need to be closed now. It is pointless to do it after there are more confirmed cases. Use the internet.


80 people like this
Posted by Uh Huh
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 2, 2020 at 11:26 am

I was at PAMF Urgent Care in Palo Alto. I used the restroom and found no soap, no paper towels in the dispenser and the automatic flushing devices were not working... Let the games begin.


48 people like this
Posted by Uh Huh
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 2, 2020 at 11:28 am

Oh, and most of the hand cleaner dispensers were empty...


97 people like this
Posted by What we each can do to help.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2020 at 11:54 am

When you found no soap, what did you do about it to be helpful? Did you politely mention it to a staff member so that they could fix the problem? (Consider that the soap and towels might have run out because more people than usual are using them. Mention the problem to someone who can help.

Or did you just kvetch about it on PA Online? Not so helpful.

We all play our part in helping our society work. Be helpful--not a complainer.

Let's roll up our sleeves and work together. If you see a problem, say something AND ask yourself, "How can I work with others to help make things work better?"




35 people like this
Posted by Greene parent
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 2, 2020 at 11:54 am

Greene Middle School is sending its band and other music groups to Disneyland on a bus starting Wed, returning Sat. Annual performance trip. All the kids are looking forward to it, but some parents are concerned. Is this trip wise?


38 people like this
Posted by Your call, PARENT.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2020 at 12:01 pm

Parents have to make lots of hard calls. This is your call, parent.

My husband's company, a large international corporation, has restricted all unnecessary travel, cancelled participating in conventions for an undetermined time.

It's interesting how differently people and organizations are responding.
.


38 people like this
Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 2, 2020 at 12:10 pm

@Greene parent - The good news is, Disneyland is still open. The bad news is, Disneyland is still open.


40 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2020 at 12:19 pm

@Anon.

Yes what I said was harsh, and I apologise, it was not meant as a harsh comment to those of us who are older.

What I did mean is that people do die from regular flu every year and that is not a nice thing either and many of those people are older.

None of us are as young as we used to be so my harsh comment was thoughtless.


22 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 2, 2020 at 12:20 pm

Regarding travel, you have to make your own call. Listen to your doctor and the county health department. I think domestic travel is a lot safer than international travel these days. Infection rates seem to be a lot higher in Asia and Europe than in North America. Corporate restrictions on work travel probably mostly have to do with international travel.


59 people like this
Posted by Downtown parent
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 2, 2020 at 12:22 pm

And PALY is hosting a huge music/dancing event on the 13th. It will most probably gather 500+ people, all in one ballroom.
All such events should be postponed!


26 people like this
Posted by Boo. Stanford theater
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 2, 2020 at 12:25 pm

Do not use the actions of the stanford theater as an example of what needs to be done now.
Wrongheaded decision which I think is more financial than anything else.


39 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 2, 2020 at 12:31 pm

As I understand this the incubation period of this virus where the victim is contagious is around 2 weeks plus or minus before people start showing symptoms. If this is correct there could be many, many victims of this virus who do not know or suspect they have the virus. This might explain the two unexplained cases of Covid-19 in CA, and others.

Please correct me or update me if my understandings are not correct.

I've also heard that having the virus does not necessarily confer immunity on the victim so that they say they cannot rule out that a person who has had and gotten over the virus could get it again.

Is there anyone who can comment on how long it takes to get over this virus, or at what point it is suggested that people seek medical attention? What is the experience of having and getting over this virus like? Is there any news from China on that?

I must confess I am not happy to hear people joking or being sarcastic about this and would very much appreciate people taking this seriously and focusing on facts and being productive with distributing facts and expressing ideas. There are lots of people in Palo Alto who work with the public every day, and just about everyone else comes in contact with them when they come home or interact with them while they are working. Let's pray and hope for the best.


41 people like this
Posted by PAReader
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 2, 2020 at 1:01 pm

The 6 deaths in Kirkland, WA really woke me up. Until now I was kind of thinking that yes its here but we'll be ok with precautions. When the first death occurred, the officials all made qualifications of that person being chronically ill. Now there's no more information about whether the new deaths were young or old or how sick.

It does seems like it spreads rapidly in proximity. Santa Clara county needs to start telling us what cities the infections are occurring in and start ratcheting up precautions in cities where we are seeing outbreaks. Agree with some of the posters that the time to contain this thing is now.


26 people like this
Posted by C
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 2, 2020 at 1:12 pm

> Is this trip wise?

No. Let's say your kid comes back from the trip with a cough. Most likely, it's just a cough. But I think right now parents and families are upset enough about the coronavirus that anyone who *might* be sick is going to be socially ostracized (if not bullied) for months. And if it's some other kid on the trip who gets a virus, you may get guilt by association.

> As I understand this the incubation period of this virus where the victim is contagious is around 2 weeks plus or minus before people start showing symptoms.

The asymptomatic incubation period can be as long as 24-27 days. AFAIK, The 14-day period was based on information at the time, namely a previous virus (MERS?). Personally, I don't think 14 days is long enough.

> Schools need to be closed now.

I agree. Kids get sick at school. Kids get their parents sick at home. Parents get their co-workers sick at work. Workers who get sick at work get their kids sick at home. Repeat for the entire flu season. It's still the flu season, btw, and supposedly the worst one in a decade. Close the schools now, and you reduce the spread of influenza as well.

> Of course, quite a "few of us" actually "are older".

One of the outbreaks of the coronavirus in Washington was at a life care facility, with 20+ patients infected. "27 of 108 residents and 25 of 180 staff have some symptoms". My grandmother and others died from pneumonia caused by an influenza virus that infected her facility. The second link doesn't say much, but does say "Researchers said earlier that the virus may have been circulating for weeks undetected in Washington state."

Web Link

Web Link


51 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2020 at 1:18 pm

Posted by Boo. Stanford theater, a resident of Downtown North

>> Do not use the actions of the stanford theater as an example of what needs to be done now.
>> Wrongheaded decision which I think is more financial than anything else.

The Stanford Theatre decision makes perfect sense to me. Why not postpone unnecessary large-numbers-of-people-close-contact events until the weather is warmer and the pandemic is declining? The announcement stated they were postponing the last two weeks but, since I missed this last weekend I'm hoping that they will repeat that one also.

Those of us who are in the high-risk category, and, that would be probably about half of the usual Stanford Theatre crowd, appreciate the consideration.


25 people like this
Posted by Anne
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 2, 2020 at 2:27 pm

"Is there anyone who can comment on how long it takes to get over this virus, or at what point it is suggested that people seek medical attention? What is the experience of having and getting over this virus like? Is there any news from China on that?"

There is no information about the timeframe it takes for recovering, nor the aftermath for people who had recovered. Apparently, that's less important right now...
It is suggested that you stay home if you have symptoms, just like you'd do with the regular flu. However, if you start having breathing problems, it is advised you contact your health care provider immediately.


35 people like this
Posted by Uh Huh
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 2, 2020 at 2:48 pm

@What we each can do to help.

That's the job for the high paid managers of the clinic who are supposedly prepared for this and managing things in accordance, not patients diagnosed with a severe case of the flu. Clearly they are not managing.


25 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2020 at 3:33 pm

Too many live threads.

Editors, please think about shutting down all old threads and just keep the latest one "live", with perhaps a link to the live thread.


27 people like this
Posted by Chris
a resident of University South
on Mar 2, 2020 at 3:34 pm

The resources need to be focused first on senior citizens and those with compromised immune systems. The testing should start there. The death rate for healthy middle-age and younger people is low. These healthy people can avoid large gatherings and work from home as much as possible. Increased testing will help identify the path of the virus.


62 people like this
Posted by DavidZ
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 2, 2020 at 3:39 pm

Superintendent Austin said, "As a Palo Alto resident, I see large crowds in supermarkets, parks, theaters, airports, restaurants, and public places. They are operating as usual with no call for closures," he wrote. "Closing schools at this point would not eliminate the infinite interactions our students would have beyond PAUSD. We understand the responsibility afforded to PAUSD while caring for your students and treat the work seriously. We cannot control every aspect of student or community life, which is the only way a quarantine works."

I don't believe the Superintendent is an expert on pandemics and is speaking as a layman when he suggests that there is no point in closing schools because our children would experience the same level of risk in other venues. In fact, the statement shows that the Superintendent is not well informed or well advised.

School closure is one of the primary nonpharmaceutical interventions recommended at an early stage of a pandemic and has shown to be effective in reducing the peak number of cases.

Studies conducted during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, including: 1) a study which found H1N1 surged in many U.S. communities in fall 2009, about 2-3 weeks after schools re-opened after summer break (70); and 2) a comparison of school districts in Texas, in the beginning of the first wave of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, which found that the odds of reporting acute respiratory illness rates were 51% lower in the community surrounding the school district that closed schools compared to the adjacent school district where schools remained open (71). In Canada, school closure was associated with reduced transmission of more than 50% among school children that may have helped attenuate the first wave of the 2009 H1N1 epidemic (72). The greater Mexico City area saw a 29%-37% reduction in H1N1 transmission following mandatory 18-day school closures and implementation of other social distancing measures (73). A comparative case study in Japan showed that full school closures reduced the impact of the pandemic more than single class closures. This same study also found that a longer duration of school closure was significantly correlated with a reduction in H1N1 incidence after classes resumed (74). In India, three school holidays that occurred between August 2009 and January 2010 had a significant impact on the spread of H1N1 influenza, reducing the transmission rate by 14%-27% in different regions (75).

The data strongly supports school closure as an effective and early line of defense against a pandemic. Check out the link below from the CDC website.

Web Link


30 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2020 at 5:08 pm

These online petitions about closing schools or bringing forward spring break are causing hysteria. Nextdoor.com is full of irrational arguments although some people are in fear because they want to protect older people who live in the same homes.

If someone wants to keep their child home because of fear, that is understandable but the schools are not saying that. Can an individual family keep their kids home while others desperately need to send their kids to school because it would mean nobody to look after healthy children at home. One family's needs should not be more important than another family's needs.

Hysteria and panic buying of things like toilet paper and rice, pasta, frozen veg are getting rife.

What is needed is some sensible information that is not coming out.

Yes, we know that we must stay home if we are sick, but if we think we may have something other than just the regular flu what should be done next? Who do we call from the safety of our homes to find out if we can be tested? Are there people who are staying at home who are sick with Covid 19? Do these people staying at home have supposedly healthy family members who are out and about going to work/school/activities.

What about hygiene? Yes we can wash our hands frequently, but what about grocery carts, atm machines, push button pedestrian lights, cash, mail deliveries, etc. etc. All these things are being touched by hundreds of people each day. Are they being cleaned?

We need some sensible, common sense information and answers to intelligent questions. This information is not forthcoming.


55 people like this
Posted by Sally
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 2, 2020 at 6:09 pm

I agree with DavidZ that Mr. Austin's comments are strange. There are not an "infinite" amount of community interactions. Our interactions are quite clearly finite, and limiting them is precisely how one limits disease transmission. Schools are hotbeds for any disease.

As ill-advised and out of his expertise as Mr. Austin's editorializing may be, at the end of the day PAUSD will follow the advice of higher level health authorities. They won't close unless they are told too, and that will only happen if things look desperately bad.

Parents can and perhaps should choose a more cautious approach for their own children. It does not make one crazy or hysterical to err on the side of extreme caution in a situation like this.


38 people like this
Posted by Linda
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 2, 2020 at 6:27 pm

Please check out the WHO report for the situation in China. We can learn from their experiences. Once there is community spread, closing school is an extremely effective way to slow down viral transmission. Wearing masks is also one of the method. Of course frequent hand washing will be important. PAUSD needs to do deep cleaning of all surfaces among all their schools. Decision to close school need to be made promptly before the outbreak takes its strong grip. You will save a lot of lives. This is not only for the students, but also for their parents, grandparents. This is an unknown highly contagious virus with no effective treatment not vaccine.


22 people like this
Posted by Linda
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 2, 2020 at 7:01 pm

I am replying to a few posts here asking more about the disease itself.
1)why is so concerning?
It is new mutated Corona virus, highly infectious, very long incubation period up to 14 days. We still don’t know if a symptomatic carrier can infect other effectively. It leads to exponential growth, and that’s why we usually see the number of cases jumps up fast, such as in China, by the thousands in a week during the peak.

2) who are the most vulnerable with the worse outcomes?
The same groups as for Flu, the elderly, smoker, people with other chronic medical illness. However, COVID-19 also infect and lead the death of all walks at this point. There is a saying online that no one is spared in front of this virus. This is a new virus, and no one has immunity.

I will post mode of transmission and prevention next post


29 people like this
Posted by Lara
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 2, 2020 at 7:03 pm

During 2009, H1N1 epidemic, my son's elementary school classrooms were missing half of the students. Most of them had developed pneumonia. dr. skelly never considered to close the schools. It was very irresponsible.


25 people like this
Posted by Linda
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 2, 2020 at 7:46 pm

I am replying to a few posts here asking more about the disease itself.
1) Mode of transmission, 4 types with specific interventions
A) Respiratory droplets
This is most effective mode of transmission, through coughing, sneezing and even talking. WHO agrees and recommend during community outbreak to wear masks, keep distances from each other, stay away from any gathering (no school , concert, etc.). China was slow to implement these measures initially, and lead to huge rise in confirmed cases in the thousands. They then quickly adapted these later.
Anyone sick should stay home, and please learn to cough into your elbows.
B) Contact
It’s still unclear how many days this virus can survive on surfaces. They think it’s 1-6 days based on previous studies on different types of Corona viruses. That’s why all school should at least do deep cleaning of all desks and surfaces every weekend and open all classrooms to air them for at least 1-2 hours, if they insist not to close the schools during community outbreak.
Frequent hand wash for 20 seconds is very important. Teaching our children not to touch their face, nose and eyes. Cough and sneeze into elbows or tissues, not your hands. School should really spend time teaching students these.
3) Aerosols
Respiratory droplets can turn into aerosols suspending in the air in a confined space such as classrooms. Aerosols are not as effective to transmit viral particles as respiratory droplets. They will be easily blocked by a surgical mask. Open the windows to air the room will also get rid of aerosols.
4) Fecal-Oral
This is still under investigation because the discovery of viral particles in feces among patients.
Please always wash hands well after using the bathroom and flush the toilet with the lid close.

Please check WHO report and many publications from New England Journal of Medicine.

There are maybe some controversial, however all experts agree on:

1)TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY!
2)IMPLEMENT PUBLIC HEALTH MEASURES PROMPTLY AND EARLY.
3)FREQUENT HAND WASH, WEAR MASK, KEEP PERSONAL DISTANCE (TO AT LEAST ONE METER), STAY AWAY FROM ANY GATHERING (SCHOOL CLOSING), AND SEEK PROFESSIONAL CARE ASAP
4) HEALTH CARE SYSTEM READINESS


18 people like this
Posted by GS Medical Transportation
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 2, 2020 at 8:13 pm

The resources need to prioritized senior citizens and those with the status of their immune systems. They need urgent medical testing. Testing will help identify the path of the virus. If you need more information to secure each and everyone (904) 379-0234 and please visit our website Web Link


20 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 2, 2020 at 8:15 pm

Lots of discussion here without much data. From a brand new pediatric bulletin:

best available prelim data:
• average overall mortality rate 2.3%
• history of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung disease, or cancer is 5-10%
• no history of chronic disease <1%
• overall men 2.8%
• overall women 1.7%

By age:
• over 80 years old 15%
• 10-19 of age 0.0018%
• 0-9 years of age ~0%

On a positive note, we can breathe a sigh of relief that our children are clearly not at significant risk.

It would seem to be rational to be concerned about kids bringing the virus home if someone else at home is in a high risk group...

I don't see the rationalle for hoarding supplies in the data either.


23 people like this
Posted by Linda
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 2, 2020 at 8:39 pm

The number from the pediatric website are death rate, not infection rate.

If one wants to compare death rates:
Flu is 0.1%
COVID-19 is 2.5%

When we talk about public health, we talk about protecting the whole community, the young, the old and the vulnerable.

Thank you.


26 people like this
Posted by Nick
a resident of another community
on Mar 2, 2020 at 8:51 pm

[Post removed.]


21 people like this
Posted by Vote against the virus
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 2, 2020 at 8:58 pm

[Post removed.]


25 people like this
Posted by Oh, Please
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2020 at 9:45 pm

NO FACE MASKS! Doctors are saying only wear a mask if sick. This prevents infecting others when sneezing or coughing. If you do have to sneeze or cough at any time (sick or not), you should do it in your arm sleeve or elbow.

The real problem is the virus getting into the eyes, nose, mouth so keep your hands washed or use hand sanitizer.


31 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of another community
on Mar 2, 2020 at 9:46 pm

There is "no confirmed cases" in most communities. Like anything else, there are mixed emotions towards Corona Virus. Some people are panicking, some are cautious while others ignore it completely. Closing the schools, etc. seems excessive. Washing my hands well and avoiding people who are sick works for me.


24 people like this
Posted by PAResident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 2, 2020 at 9:58 pm

I would have expected that federal govt./some agency to already have had game plan to tackle an epidemic. Each state, county and state is doing things it’s own way. Frankly I’d feel much better if there were epidemiologists that provided guidelines on when we close schools etc. e.g. when there are x infections per x sq miles or something. I hope Santa Clara county is working with some of the bright minds of Stanford or even some of the leadership talent at our companies who can help build an plan.


38 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 2, 2020 at 10:06 pm

Based on the rush-hour traffic, many workers in Silicon Valley did not cone in. They don't want to pick up a virus. [Portion removed.]


29 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 2, 2020 at 10:31 pm

A few important pieces of info.
First, regarding how much we can reduce transmissions. Some studies have shown 5X better protection from face masks. Masks, along with hand washing and sanitizing of surfaces, seem to greatly reduce transmission risks. We all need to change our practices.
Second, how does it’s risk compare to influenza. Current estimates are that the fatality rate is around 10X that of the flu. Transmission rates appear to be moderately higher than the flu. So that is why epidemiologists are treating it with such alarm.


30 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of another community
on Mar 2, 2020 at 10:53 pm

Based on what I have observed, I think this virus is going to spread quickly and many of us will end up getting it.

I went to work today and everyone made light of the situation. Nobody worked from home at my company. People didn't realize that many people already have the virus. Just because there are x number of "confirmed cases" doesn't mean that dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of people in this immediate area were exposed. It's not contained to just a few people. At work people were coughing, sneezing everywhere. Nobody was washing their hands or taking any precautionary measures at all. Nothing was sanitized. Same thing out at the stores and gym. People are out and about spreading germs absolutely everywhere.


24 people like this
Posted by SMH
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 3, 2020 at 2:00 am

[Post removed.]


45 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 3, 2020 at 3:52 am

Keep your nails short and clean.
Please don't get those acrylic fake nails.
They are unsanitary.
No food workers, or people working in food processing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, healthcare and home care should be allowed to wear them.
They can poke through gloves.
I have seen some teachers at Paly with them.
Please stop. The students notice, and you are not setting a good example.


30 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 3, 2020 at 5:09 am

[Post removed.]


23 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 3, 2020 at 5:26 am

I am not a medical doctor, but it would seem that people who are on drugs which suppress the immune system would be considered at risk of complications from this virus.
These are the drugs which are being heavily marketed in the US right now.
Please call your doctor and ask.


26 people like this
Posted by words and actions from leaders matter
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Mar 3, 2020 at 6:28 am

[Post removed.]


24 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2020 at 7:10 am

This is not a political issue.

It is a people issue. Good leadership is to prevent hysteria. Good leadership shows that sensible precautions should be taking place. Good leadership shows that even in the midst of this time of concern about Covid 19, life has to go on. Today is Super Tuesday. People should vote and not stay at home because they are afraid of catching the virus. Wash your hands as you leave the voting place.

In fact, washing hands is being said without saying when. I say, wash your hands the first thing you do when get home before touching anything else in the house. Wash your hands as you enter your work place and the last thing you do before leaving. Switch off all the airblowers and provide paper towels and use your paper towel to turn off the water and to open the door. Wash your hands as you leave the gym and then touch nothing in the gym as you leave. In fact, we need more trash cans at the exits of buildings so that the paper towels can be thrown there rather than in the restrooms.

What point is there in washing your hands and then touching things everyone else touches.

So expect leadership to prevent hysteria and put more thought into when and how you wash your hands.


28 people like this
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 3, 2020 at 7:58 am

I would like to know if Palo Alto high school was really cleaned . I do not think so. there still is not soap, sanitizer, paper towels in the bathrooms and sinks and doors are still filthy. Were they just sprayed with lysol and then not wiped of. Yuck.. This school needs to be cleaned for every virus and for the morale of the kids every day. Hire an actual "crew" that can actually clean now and get a better way to enforce a clean campus . ( not just for corono virus) but for every day.


20 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 3, 2020 at 9:00 am

The Stanford Theater has shut down because of COVID-19. Web Link Prudent or paranoid? Should other local crowded local businesses be doing this?


27 people like this
Posted by Jane Doe
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 3, 2020 at 10:56 am

[Post removed; off topic.]


57 people like this
Posted by Oh, Please
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2020 at 11:11 am

[Post removed; off topic.]


32 people like this
Posted by Jane Doe
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 3, 2020 at 11:42 am

[Post removed; off topic.]


36 people like this
Posted by Oh, Please
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2020 at 11:51 am

[Post removed; off topic.]


27 people like this
Posted by Jane Doe
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 3, 2020 at 12:00 pm

[Post removed; off topic.]


40 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 3, 2020 at 12:25 pm

[Post removed; off topic.]


28 people like this
Posted by Oh, Please
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2020 at 12:29 pm

[Post removed; off topic.]


33 people like this
Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Mar 3, 2020 at 12:32 pm

Whatever you do, don't panic. Be reasonable.


26 people like this
Posted by Jane Doe
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 3, 2020 at 12:41 pm

[Post removed; off topic.]


22 people like this
Posted by What Will They Do Next
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 3, 2020 at 1:42 pm

[Post removed; off topic.]


27 people like this
Posted by What Will They Do Next
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 3, 2020 at 1:45 pm

People are overreacting.


27 people like this
Posted by Nick
a resident of another community
on Mar 3, 2020 at 2:18 pm

People are overreacting. It's ridiculous.


18 people like this
Posted by Dina Moe Hum
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 3, 2020 at 2:30 pm

[Post removed.]


21 people like this
Posted by What Will They Do Next
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 3, 2020 at 2:58 pm

[Post removed.]


28 people like this
Posted by Carol
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 3, 2020 at 3:25 pm

It would be helpful if they’d disclose more information about the people infected. How do we know if we’ve been exposed??
I have the feeling all this is going in the wrong direction


22 people like this
Posted by Maya
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 3, 2020 at 4:04 pm

Where is the superintendent of PAUSD? Why is he out of town at a time like this?


30 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 3, 2020 at 4:31 pm

While we should all be vigilant and do all the basic protections - wash hands, don't touch your face, don't hug people, and remind the children to do the same - I think this wide spread panic is unfounded and harmful. Closing the schools would be irresponsible and pointless. And I say this as a very concerned parent, who has elderly parents with a few chronic illnesses between the two of them living in the area as well. However, looking at the current timeline - first use in Santa Clara County was reported on January 31, second on February 2 - we are now up to 11 cases, and that is a month later. I think it tells us that while the virus is indeed present in our community, it seems to be pretty well isolated at least at this time. So, lets all be vigilant, wash our hands, stay home if we are sick and check on our elderly neighbors especially if they do not have family around, but not panic. Hysteria never helped anyone ...


38 people like this
Posted by DavidZ
a resident of another community
on Mar 3, 2020 at 4:42 pm

I think people are UNDER REACTING!

Parent said: "I think it tells us that while the virus is indeed present in our community, it seems to be pretty well isolated at least at this time. "

I would like to know how you know this? The fact that we have people in our community being infected without direct contact to someone known to be infected means that there are many more cases than we realize.

Have you considered if this is true, how many people will be infected and then based on the current estimated fatality rate how many lives are at risk?


19 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 3, 2020 at 5:07 pm

Dear DavidZ -
I really strongly believe that even with the flawed testing that we currently have, if we had more cases of the disease we would already be aware of these cases.
It is - uncomfortably - possible that the virus has already evolved from the original one and the incubation period is longer than 2 weeks. We do not have any proof of this possibility but this is not something that could be ignored of course.
However, at least at this point in time, there is no reason to believe that we have a widespread virus in the community.
Panicing is not going to get us anywhere. We need to prepare - for instance, each person, I think, has to have a plan as to what they will do if one of their family members or friends will come down with the illness - and we need to be vigilant. But panicking and preemptively closing schools would not help but harm. Where do you think all of Paly kids going to go when there is no school, you really think they will sit quietly at home alone? Of course not, they will be in Town & Country congregating in large numbers in crowded places. And what will happen with a huge percentage of elementary school children who have two working parents that are unable to take time off?
Anyway. Lets all calm down, make mental preparations and wash our hands over and over again.


34 people like this
Posted by DavidZ
a resident of another community
on Mar 3, 2020 at 5:14 pm

Dear Parent:

"I really strongly believe that even with the flawed testing that we currently have, if we had more cases of the disease we would already be aware of these cases. "

Then how do you explain the infections that did not involve anyone exposed to someone who was already known to be infected? The only logical conclusion is that there are infections we do not know about, which is not consistent with your strongly held belief.

"Where do you think all of Paly kids going to go when there is no school, you really think they will sit quietly at home alone? Of course not, they will be in Town & Country congregating in large numbers in crowded places."

Any place they go, other than concerts and sporting events, is much less dense than school. This is not just my feeling. This is what the data shows. School is a primary source of new infections in a community and when there is a pandemic, closing down the school has a dramatic effect on spread of the virus in the community.






18 people like this
Posted by Anonymous1
a resident of another community
on Mar 3, 2020 at 5:21 pm

Paly is still filthy and there are no emergency plans in place. Close it until these are done and approved by outside sources. Do this ! Don Austen should not be giving any statement minimizing risk when his school paly has no plan and no soap or towels and still is very dirty . They hired a firm and sent kids home and then shared no emergency plans with kids . Fancy firm but what was their take on the school level of preparedness??


31 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 3, 2020 at 6:20 pm

Oh my, heaven forbid anyone point out how universal health care would affect this pandemic ... what a politically biased moderator you have on duty .... which is why people are coming to hate the establishment and it will only be a matter of time. The ultimate ON-TOPIC point for many lives that will be lost.


18 people like this
Posted by Someone who is away
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 3, 2020 at 7:03 pm

I’m away currently in a major Midwest city. Just now, novel Coronavirus worries are really hitting the news....With local angle, preparations, concerns....


28 people like this
Posted by PAResident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 3, 2020 at 7:50 pm

+1 to Carol. I’d like to know cities and number of incidences. All other states are sharing this info. Not sure why Santa Clara county wouldn’t. Also over 50 is not very reassuring. 50 is not that advanced in age. That plus the Amazon employee catching it in Seattle would pretty much mean that the risk for those under 50 should not be dismissed either.


18 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 3, 2020 at 10:16 pm

Mike Pence says any American can get tested for the coronavirus. "No restrictions." If you are feeling sick, get yourself tested. Don't spread the virus. CNN News report: Web Link


38 people like this
Posted by ConcernedParent
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 4, 2020 at 12:20 am

The PAUSD Superintendent says he is not closing the schools because there are no cases. He also said that not a single school in California has shut down and that shutting schools when the rest of the region is open would be a symbolic measure with no practical benefits.

First, the Menlo School has closed. Second, it is quite clear that there not only 11 cases, but that there are many factors including the limited availability of testing that has reduced the official number of cases. The true number of infected people is likely high, and delaying action is likely going to overburden our hospitals in a few weeks and cost lives as people unwittingly infect others.

Of course, there can be many opinions. When asking in a neutral way in the Gunn Facebook group for parents about what people thought about the Superintendent's message from March 1, it was rejected by the Gunn Administrators. I guess the administration is scared of what parents might say rather than looking for input from their constituency.

Not only are our children and risk, but we can't really self-isolate as long as our children are required to attend schools. Open discussion should be something that is encouraged and not tamped down.


25 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 4, 2020 at 6:43 am

Resident a resident of Downtown North posted:
> Mike Pence says any American can get tested for the coronavirus.
> "No restrictions." If you are feeling sick, get yourself tested.
> Don't spread the virus. CNN News report: Web Link

In other words the, what Bernie Sanders would call the "billionaire class"
has decided that the public only warrants health care when they are a
direct threat to their health, or their profits, but they refuse to go as far
as every other developed and civilized country on Earth to accept that
all American citizens are human beings and deserve health care all of
the time because it is a fundamental human right.


18 people like this
Posted by member1
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 4, 2020 at 7:19 am

I would like the assumptions that Paly is taking the correct measures to stop. It would be better to have an outside source evaluate their cleaning protocols instead of thinking they just did. Do you think they take roll for fire drills? they say they do, but I have seen droves of kids just leaving to get a jamba juice and others just driving off.

The leadership at this school should get enforcement, not hired experts to give the workshops while our kids sit at home. They should already know all protocols as professionals.


18 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 4, 2020 at 8:10 am

[Post removed.]


22 people like this
Posted by Concerned Citizen
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 4, 2020 at 8:10 am

I still find it amazing and suspicious that there is NO statement (one way or another) on whether the students have been tested. I feel like information is being withheld and that is information parents and citizens could use to make decisions. The question is simple, "Have the two students that were removed from school been tested?" There are only 4 possible answers as far as I can tell... 1) Yes, 2) No, 3) We don't know, 4) We (know, but) are not allowed to comment. I feel that the PAUSD people know one of those 4 answers. And so saying nothing is the worst 5th choice.

And if the answer is "no, they were not tested, as they don't need to be because they only came in contact with a second removed contact" then why did they wipe down the school??


35 people like this
Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 4, 2020 at 8:23 am

I tried to post something on the Gunn parent's Facebook group about the coronavirus and I was restricted (not allowed) by the administrator (I have his name if anyone wants it). This is clearly information control and not in the best interest of a free society trying to come together to share information and opinions about a situation like this. I want everyone to know that the schools' parent community groups on Facebook are doing this, so they are not free open forums. Someone is deciding what you can say and what you can hear.


31 people like this
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 4, 2020 at 8:27 am

My son is sitting in class at Paly right now; the most logical place for him to be. PAUSD is being vigilant by seeking advice from professionals and not buying into the hysteria that some community members are expressing.


24 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2020 at 8:37 am

The two students who were sent home (Paly and JLS) have been out in the community. The parent in question has been out in the community. This may only be anecdotal, but it underscores the fact that self isolation or keeping kids out of school (or closing school) doesn't work.


24 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 4, 2020 at 9:16 am

Lessons from combating covid-19 in China

Web Link


19 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 4, 2020 at 11:58 am

"it’s 9 cases already"

It's AT LEAST 9 cases -- they only count the ones they've found. An unknowable number are mild enough to slip below the radar.

Bottom line: We're already in this. We'll get through it.


50 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 4, 2020 at 2:03 pm

"Lessons from combating covid-19 in China"

1 - The US utterly failed to do timely testing and now containment is no longer a workable strategy.
2 - The US cannot impose the kinds of travel and quarantine restrictions that China employed.
3 - The US has much LESS medical response capability than does China. For example many seriously ill in China were saved by using extracorporeal oxygenation - there is very little extracorporeal oxygenation capability in the US.
4 - US leadership has low credibility
5 - US leadership has devalued the media as a source of credible information.
6- no action has been taken to curtail high transmission events like schools and public assemblies

In my opinion there is a high probability that we will have a US pandemic, millions will be infected, 100s of thousands will die and the ensuing social unrest will be even more devastating


16 people like this
Posted by Anonymous1
a resident of another community
on Mar 4, 2020 at 5:00 pm

Admin is probably waiting for liability risk money loss and weighing out money loss for attendance. They could run classes virtually .


16 people like this
Posted by Anonymous1
a resident of another community
on Mar 4, 2020 at 5:05 pm

The teachers that will not let up on homework and tests limit kids sleep and immunity. Also sick kids lose gpa if they stay home. Let up. Homework and tests don’t really increase learning.


14 people like this
Posted by Anonymous1
a resident of another community
on Mar 4, 2020 at 5:13 pm

Peter Carpenter.

But on the bright side....

Do you think school trips and events should be cancelled. Graduation? No handshakes ? What are your thoughts.


17 people like this
Posted by DavidZ
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 4, 2020 at 5:58 pm

New guidance issued this afternoon from Santa Clara County Dept. of Public Health:

“We are currently recommending schools to be very thoughtful looking at their emergency operations plans and thinking about what the schools could do if there were a large number of absences – e-learning, etc.”


17 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 4, 2020 at 7:16 pm

"Peter Carpenter.

But on the bright side....

Do you think school trips and events should be cancelled. Graduation? No handshakes ? What are your thoughts."

I would wait a week to see what are the results of the intensified testing.

If the virus has spread widely then I would be inclined to stay away from crowds and to limit my travel. Each person will need to make their own choices and each responsible public agency will need to decide on its own recommendations.

Good leadership is VITAL.


15 people like this
Posted by MicrobFighter
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 4, 2020 at 7:54 pm

To Resident -
”Editors, please think about shutting down all old threads and just keep the latest one "live", with perhaps a link to the live thread.“ How about just the viral ones!


22 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 4, 2020 at 8:28 pm

From the Wash Post:

"NEW YORK — First, a lawyer who commutes between the suburbs and his midtown Manhattan office was diagnosed with the coronavirus. Then, his wife and two children tested positive, along with a neighbor who drove him to the hospital.

By Wednesday afternoon, another friend, his wife and three of their children were also infected.

In the span of 48 hours, what began as one family’s medical crisis had spiraled well beyond their Westchester County home, shuttering Jewish schools and synagogues and crystallizing the virus’s power to propel anxiety across a region that is among the nation’s most densely populated."

*********
This scenario is already being replicated all over the entire country. The virus is loose and it will be VERY difficult to contain. Over the next week as the long overdue testing takes place we are probably going to see a disaster unfolding.


28 people like this
Posted by Dire prophesies
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 4, 2020 at 10:54 pm

[Post removed.]


23 people like this
Posted by Dire prophesies
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 4, 2020 at 10:59 pm

[Portion removed.] I can’t help but come back to Peter Carpenters comments again.

It’s like he WANTS his predictions to be true. Like he’s gleefully rubbing his hands with these predictions! Because of the failings of......what. Haven’t quite figured that part out yet.


21 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 5, 2020 at 6:37 am

From Wall Street Journal:
"More cases of the novel coronavirus were reported globally, from Australia to South Korea, as some health officials warned it would be impossible to fully contain the pathogen now that infections are spreading within many communities."

From Wa
sh Post:
"The United States confirmed its 11th death from the outbreak on Wednesday, along with more than 150 confirmed cases. Health experts have warned that the country may struggle to rapidly test thousands of Americans. President Trump downplayed worries on Wednesday evening, telling Fox News that a 3.4 percent mortality rate announced by the World Health Organization was “false” and suggesting it was under 1 percent. “This is really my hunch,” Trump said."

So take yur choice - facts or hunches, expert predictions or planning on a miracle.


22 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 5, 2020 at 7:09 am

" Because of the failings of......what. Haven’t quite figured that part out yet"

Easy - because the US failed to do sound widespread testing as soon as this virus was reported the virus has now spread widely in the US - and we still do not know how widely because we are still not doing widespread testing.

Because it has spread widely containment is no longer a feasible strategy.


17 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 5, 2020 at 9:15 am

From The Economist:

"Yet our own analysis, based on patterns of travel to and from China, suggests that many countries which have spotted tens of cases have hundreds more circulating undetected. Iran, South Korea and Italy are exporting the virus. Now that America has begun looking, it is sure to find scores of infections—and possibly unearth a runaway epidemic. Wherever the virus takes hold, containing it and mitigating its effects will involve more than doctors and paramedics. A concerted effort is needed across the government, especially over how to protect people and companies as supply chains fracture and the worried and the ill shut themselves away.


Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-In-Chief"


17 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 5, 2020 at 9:33 am

More facts:

From Patch:
"
Health & Fitness
Shared from Los Gatos, CA
Santa Clara County Confirms 3 More Coronavirus Cases
The most recent cases brings total of confirmed infected persons in the state to 53 including one known fatality.
By Bay City News, News Partner
Mar 5, 2020 9:13 am PT

Reply
The most recent cases brings total of confirmed infected persons in the state to 53 including one known fatality according to the California Department of Public Health.
The most recent cases brings total of confirmed infected persons in the state to 53 including one known fatality according to the California Department of Public Health. (Shutterstock)
SANTA CLARA COUNTY,CA — Three more cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Santa Clara County as of Wednesday, according to county health officials.

All three news cases are men, with one of them hospitalized, officials said.

The basis of exposure for the man in the hospital is under investigation and the other two men were close contacts of another previous case.

The California Department of Public Health confirmed the state is up to 53 cases as of Wednesday, including one person who died in Placer County.

Twenty-four of the cases are related to federal repatriation flights, and 29 aren't.

Of the other 24 cases, 12 are travel-related, 10 were contracted from person-to-person contact, 4 are from community transmission and 3 are currently under investigation.

Approximately 9,400 people who have traveled through San Francisco or Los Angeles international airports are self-monitoring "


23 people like this
Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 5, 2020 at 11:11 am

Still no news from the PAUSD about the students removed from the school last Friday. Have they been allowed to come back? Have they been tested? It seems irresponsible to remove kids from school, wipe down the school, a WHOLE week has passed, and we have no news on the situation. If all is fine, let us know, if not, let us know, if you don't know yet, let us know. but silence is the worst form of communication.


19 people like this
Posted by rhody
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 5, 2020 at 11:16 am

Why on earth do people react to this virus by buying up toilet paper!


23 people like this
Posted by DavidZ
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 5, 2020 at 2:30 pm

Closing the schools now is the single most effective mitigation available to us right now to slow the spread of the virus and to reduce peak load on the health care system:

Reported this afternoon:

On Thursday, Action Day Primary Plus in San Jose sent a letter to parents that the school will be closed until Monday after learning a teacher tested positive for coronavirus.

The teacher at the school's Moorpark facility was sent home and has not returned to work since Feb. 26, the school said. The teacher is receiving medical care.

County health officials told the school that asymptomatic individuals are not considered contagious, the school said.

Action Day Primary Plus officials said the closure is out of an abundance of caution and safety, and the school will conduct a deep cleaning of the entire facility. All school-related activities scheduled for Thursday and Friday were canceled.


22 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 5, 2020 at 2:36 pm

"County health officials told the school that asymptomatic individuals are not considered contagious, the school said."

Wrong. Check out this new New England Journal of Medicine paper. Chinese researchers monitored how much virus could be found in the upper respiratory tracts — noses and throats — of 18 patients in Guangdong, China. One of the 18 never had any symptoms.

"We analyzed the viral load in nasal and throat swabs obtained from the 17 symptomatic patients in relation to day of onset of any symptoms (Figure 1C). Higher viral loads (inversely related to Ct value) were detected soon after symptom onset, with higher viral loads detected in the nose than in the throat. Our analysis suggests that the viral nucleic acid shedding pattern of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 resembles that of patients with influenza4 and appears different from that seen in patients infected with SARS-CoV.3 The viral load that was detected in the asymptomatic patient was similar to that in the symptomatic patients, which suggests the transmission potential of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic patients. "


22 people like this
Posted by DavidZ
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 5, 2020 at 3:16 pm

In the latest guidance from Santa Clara County Dept of Public Health:

"The County Public Health Department is not recommending closing schools at this time. If a staff member or student in a specific school confirmed to have COVID-19, the Public Health Department will consider, based on the specific facts and circumstances of that case, whether closure of that school is warranted. The reason we are not recommending school closures at this time is because children have not been shown to be a high-risk group for serious illness from this virus. As much as possible, children should be allowed to carry on with their education and normal activities."

While we can be thankful that young people are at low risk, this reason to close schools is because we know, and we have strong data to support, that closing schools SLOWS THE SPREAD OF THE DISEASE IN THE COMMUNITY!




16 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 5, 2020 at 3:19 pm

From Science magazine:

"Speed is critical in the response to COVID-19. So why has the United States been so slow in its attempt to develop reliable diagnostic tests and use them widely?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has shipped testing kits to 57 countries. China had five commercial tests on the market 1 month ago and can now do up to 1.6 million tests a week; South Korea has tested 65,000 people so far. The U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in contrast, has done only 459 tests since the epidemic began. The rollout of a CDC-designed test kit to state and local labs has become a fiasco because it contained a faulty reagent. Labs around the country eager to test more suspected cases—and test them faster—have been unable to do so. No commercial or state labs have the approval to use their own tests.

In what is already an infamous snafu, CDC initially refused a request to test a patient in Northern California who turned out to be the first probable COVID19 case without known links to an infected person.

The problems have led many to doubt that the official tally of 60 confirmed cases in the United States is accurate. “There have been blunders, and there could be an underlying catastrophe that we don’t know about,” says epidemiologist Michael Mina, who helps run a microbiology testing lab at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “It’s been very complicated and confusing for everyone with almost no clarity being provided by the CDC.”
The situation may soon improve. State labs and commercial diagnostic developers hope to win approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for their own tests, and FDA and CDC on Wednesday agreed on a workaround for the faulty CDC kit—which has a problem that is not essential to its proper functioning—so that it can now be used by at least some of the state labs that have it."


22 people like this
Posted by James
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 5, 2020 at 4:03 pm

I am surprised that doctors and nurses from the Stanford Hospital and from PAMF run around outside the hospital with their scrubs and nursing tops. Are they not taught in medical school that this is the best way to spread germs and viruses?
Why do they not change into civilian clothes when going outside the hospital for lunch/dinner or to/from work? I know that the excuse is lack of time, but in times like these, this can hardly be an acceptable reason.


20 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 5, 2020 at 4:13 pm

James - If you see anybody in hospital scrubs outside the hospital walk quickly in the opposite direction.


21 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 5, 2020 at 5:31 pm

A HUGE change in local public health advice:



Update on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
March 5, 2020: New statement issued from San Mateo County Public Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow.



Public Health Officer Statement (3/5/2020)
This is a difficult message to share, but it is important to recognize how difficult the times ahead may be and how you must now take assertive action to prepare for them. Our local situation surrounding novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is changing rapidly. COVID-19 is spreading in our community, the extent of which is unclear. It has likely been spreading for weeks, perhaps months. I have no reason to believe that how it’s spreading in other counties won’t be replicated to some degree here. We now all need to take assertive actions to inhibit the spread of this new virus. Some of those actions are described below. I advise that individuals, schools, business, and all other sectors of our community take immediate steps to change behaviors and take definitive action.

Our lives will be significantly disrupted by the measures needed to respond to a global pandemic. A pandemic is a global occurrence of an infectious disease. A pandemic is a disaster with unique characteristics. The two most important differences between a pandemic and other disasters are that the whole world is going through this disaster at the same time, and people may become fearful of other people. The current COVID-19 outbreak clearly has the potential to turn into a severe pandemic.

County Health continues to work with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and our state and local partners to manage testing and monitoring of persons who have been exposed to COVID-19. But our focus is rapidly changing from a containment strategy (identifying cases and contacts) to one of community mitigation—taking steps to lessen the broad impact of the disease. County Health and our public and private partners are taking steps to increase our ability to respond and are planning for a sustained response to COVID-19.

How the world operates during a pandemic is different from how the world operates normally. This is not business as usual. With a pandemic comes significant disruption to supply chains (the process of how things get from where they are made to where they are used), transportation, and travel. Even if the disease is not rapidly spreading in our area, we may face difficulty obtaining the goods and services we are accustomed to, public events may be canceled, and our ability to travel might be restricted.

San Mateo County Health continues to advise that the steps to prevent the spread of flu will also guard against the spread of COVID-19: cover your cough and sneeze, wash your hands frequently, avoid shaking hands and touching your face with unwashed hands, and if you are not feeling well or are experiencing cold, flu, or other symptoms, stay home from school or work. If you are mildly ill, there is no need to contact your primary care provider as they are very busy right now. If you are significantly ill, contact your primary care provider.

Here are the most important things for you to consider to improve your personal and organizational preparedness:

What matters most is how households, neighborhoods, community groups, businesses, and other organizations prepare. What does that mean? Preparedness equals self-sufficiency. The government will help where it can, but it may have a limited ability to respond directly to you due to the scale of the disruptions.
Individual and community preparations should focus on three tasks—reducing each person’s chance of getting sick (see both individual and more general public health recommendations both above and below), helping households with basic survival needs during a pandemic, and minimizing and coping with larger disruptions in how the normal day-to-day world works.
All businesses and other organizations should now be done reviewing their continuity of operations plans for how they will operate if their employees are unable to work and how they will interact with members of the public and prepare to implement these plans soon.
All medical facilities and providers should be done reviewing their surge plans for how to handle increased numbers of patients and be prepared to implement.
Getting ready for a pandemic is largely about preparing for possible shortages. In a pandemic, supply chain disruptions are inevitable but are also unpredictable.
Since it contains vital supplies, a good start is to make sure your earthquake kit is up to date and ready to go. Of course, having supplies beyond the typical earthquake kit is a good idea. What you decide to have on hand is based on your individual and family situation and your individual preferences.
One likely shortage will be medications. You should attempt to obtain a couple of months supply for your critical medications.
If you have other critical supply needs, you should conserve them and stock up on them now.
Now is also the time to think about how you will care for loved ones at home if they or you are sick and how you would limit spread within the family.
Frequent and appropriate hand-washing is far from a perfect solution, but it’s easy, under your control, and has no significant downside.
Like washing your hands, wearing a surgical mask may help a bit, but you need to know that surgical masks don’t offer much protection when they are worn by people who are well. They are most helpful when worn by those who are already sick so that they are less likely to transmit the disease to others. Surgical masks and masks offering higher levels of respiratory protection are already in short supply and should be prioritized for use in health care settings.
You should use a barrier, such as a paper towel or tissue, to touch commonly touched surfaces, such as any door handles or elevator buttons.
Change from my previous message: I am now asking for the implementation of the activities below at this time.

All non-essential gatherings should be canceled, postponed, or done remotely. Unfortunately, at this time, I have no standard definition of “non-essential” or “gathering” to guide your decisions. Use your best judgement.
Stop shaking hands.
Increase in the amount of remote working or teleworking to the extent possible especially for those who appear at higher risk for developing the disease, those over the age of 60 and those with co-morbid conditions.
Under all circumstances, stop touching your face, eyes, nose, or mouth with your unwashed hands.
I am not asking for the implementation of these activities, but these are the types of activities we may need to implement in the future:

School closures. Schools are an essential gathering. School closings present a particularly vexing social distancing dilemma but may be necessary to protect public health. Once school closings occur, they may be extensive and extended.
Social distancing—staying at least 6 feet away from all other people—should be attempted where possible.
Rationing (a formal process of prioritizing distribution and use) of critical supplies may need to occur.
To get ourselves through the hard times that may be coming, your community may need volunteers. Think now about the skills you have and how you can help your community. Heed the call should volunteers be requested.
Other public health interventions that have been used with some effect in other countries include commandeering of both real or personal property, conscription, curfew, and cordons. It is unlikely that these interventions would be used here due to practical considerations.
Issues around testing for COVID-19. You may have received incorrect information from the federal and state government on March 4, 2020. San Mateo County does not currently have testing available independently of the state and CDC. The amount of testing that is available through the state and CDC is severely limited. Should testing become more widely available, testing will be prioritized based on healthcare infrastructure concerns, risk of exposure, and/or very sick hospitalized patients. Tests will not automatically be given upon request or by a physician’s order. This may change as testing capacity evolves over the next few months.

Scott Morrow, MD, MPH
San Mateo County Health Officer
March 5, 2020

FAQ
WHAT IS NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)?

Novel coronavirus is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. It has now spread to many other countries, including the USA. Technically, the virus is named SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes is called COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019). See information about 2019 Novel Coronavirus on the CDC website

HOW IS SAN MATEO COUNTY HEALTH RESPONDING?

San Mateo County Health officials are working closely with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to respond to the outbreak of COVID-19. We are providing information to health care providers in our county on how to safely and effectively evaluate ill people who have symptoms. We continue to monitor the situation, work with our partners to identify any possible cases, provide information and consultation to ensure that possible cases are diagnosed and managed safely, as well as implement recommendations from the CDC. Additionally, we conduct full investigations, assist with logistics from transportation to accommodations with all positive cases.

WHAT CAN SAN MATEO COUNTY RESIDENTS/VISITORS DO TO PREVENT COVID-19?

Individuals can prevent illness:

Frequently wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
Always cover your cough or sneeze;
Stay home if you are sick and;
If you have recently returned from a country with ongoing COVID-19 infection, monitor your health and follow the instructions of public health officials.
Individuals can prepare for the possible disruption caused by an outbreak:
Make sure you have a supply of all essential medications for your family;
Make a child/elderly/adults with disabilities care plan if you or a care giver are sick;
Make arrangements about how your family will manage a school closure; and
Make a plan for how you can care for a sick family member without getting sick yourself.
WHERE DID COVID-19 COME FROM?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different types of animals including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people. The animal source of COVID-19 is not known right now.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF NOVEL CORONAVIRUS?

In confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. The most common symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

HOW DOES THE VIRUS SPREAD?

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), and via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. See How Coronavirus Spreads.

IF I HAVE A FEVER, COUGH, OR SHORTNESS OF BREATH, DO I HAVE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS?

It is cold and flu season now, and many people have symptoms of illness that are not related to COVID-19. If you have fever, cough, or shortness of breath, contact your medical provider right away and tell them about your symptoms and any recent travel. Be sure to call ahead before you visit the office, clinic, or hospital, so that the medical provider can prepare for your visit.

SHOULD I GET TESTED TO SEE IF I HAVE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS?

On March 4, 2020, CDC updated their guidelines for evaluating and reporting persons under investigation (PUI) for COVID-19 to expand testing to a wider group of symptomatic patients. To avoid overburdening our local health care system this new guidance should be interpreted with caution. We are working with CDC and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to determine how these changes will be operationalized. Once available, we will disseminate additional guidance to medical providers San Mateo County through the routine pathways.

The updated CDC guidelines expand testing to a wider group of symptomatic patients. Clinicians should use their judgment to determine if a patient has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and whether the patient should be tested. Decisions on which patients receive testing should be based on the local epidemiology of COVID-19, as well as the clinical course of illness. Most patients with confirmed COVID-19 have developed fever and/or symptoms of acute respiratory illness (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing). Clinicians are strongly encouraged to test for other causes of respiratory illness, including infections such as influenza.

Epidemiologic factors that may help guide decisions on whether to test include: any persons, including healthcare workers, who have had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset, or a history of travel from affected geographic areas* within 14 days of symptom onset.

(*Affected areas are defined as geographic regions where sustained community transmission has been identified. Relevant affected areas will be defined as a country with at least a CDC Level 2 Travel Health Notice. See all COVID-19 Travel Health Notices.)
SHOULD I BE WEARING A MASK TO PREVENT GETTING NOVEL CORONAVIRUS?

Good hand washing techniques are the most effective ways to prevent yourself from getting sick. This means washing your hands often with soap and water and rub for at least 20 seconds. If you have a fever or cough, a face mask is recommended to prevent spread of germs to others around you. Currently, there is no recommendation to wear masks. However, if you choose to wear a face mask, it is important to understand that face masks are not a substitute for hand washing which is the priority.

IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL?

CDC currently recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China and South Korea. CDC also lists Iran, Italy, and Japan as countries where there is sustained community transmission of COVID-19 and that older adults and those with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing nonessential travel. The worldwide COVID-19 situation is evolving rapidly, and more countries may be added to these lists. Stay up to date by checking the CDC travel health notices related to this outbreak.

IS THERE A VACCINE FOR NOVEL CORONAVIRUS?

No. Efforts to develop a vaccine are underway in many places globally, but currently, there is no vaccine available to protect against novel coronavirus.

WHAT IS THE TREATMENT IF SOMEONE GETS SICK WITH NOVEL CORONAVIRUS?

The treatment right now is to take care of the symptoms. There is no specific treatment for novel coronavirus.

I’M FEELING STRESSED AND OVERWHELMED, WHOM CAN I TALK TO?

For information, referrals, and assessments for local mental health and substance use services, please contact your health insurance company to connect to a resource within your insurance company’s network. For residents insured by Medi-Cal, call Behavioral Health and Recovery Services’ ACCESS Call Center at (800) 686-0101.

For 24/7 confidential crisis support from local/national organizations, call (650) 579-0350 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Chat online: text “START” to 741741.

I’M A HEALTHCARE PROVIDER. WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION?

We have information about novel coronavirus and other health alerts for clinicians here.

WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?

You can visit San Mateo County Health’s COVID-19 page or visit the CDC’s website COVID-19 page You can also find more information by accessing the links listed below.

RESOURCES FOR COVID-19

Infographic Poster – COVID-19 Stop the Spread of Germs [Simplified Chinese] [Spanish]
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers from CDC [Simplified Chinese] [Spanish]
CDC COVID-19 Fact Sheet [Simplified Chinese] [Spanish]
CDC What to do if you are Sick with COVID-19 [Simplified Chinese] [Spanish]
CDC Infographic: COVID-19 Symptoms [Simplified Chinese] [Spanish]
Main CDC COVID-19 Website


Novedades acerca del Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC por sus siglas en Inglés) han transferido al condado de San Mateo uno de los pacientes recientemente repatriados y cuyo test para detectar el virus ha resultado positivo. Por el momento no compartiremos ningún otro detalle al respecto.

Información actualizada por el CDC sobre el COVID-19 puede ser accedida aquí:

Web Link

Preguntas Más Frecuentes
¿Qué es el “novel coronavirus” (COVID-19)?

El “novel coronavirus” es un nuevo virus respiratorio identificado originalmente en la cuidad de Wuhan, Provincia de Hubei, China, en Diciembre del 2019. El virus se ha propagado a muchos países, incluyendo los Estados Unidos. Técnicamente, el nombre del virus es SARS-COv-2 y la enfermedad que causa se llama COVID-19 (enfermedad del coronavirus 2019 por sus siglas en Inglés.) Para más información acerca del “novel coronavirus” (COVID-19) consulte el sitio en Internet de los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC por sus siglas en Inglés.)

¿Qué medidas está tomando el Departamento de Saludo del condado de San Mateo?

Oficiales del Departamento de Salud del condado de San Mateo están trabajando en colaboración con el Departamento de Salud Pública de California (CDPH -siglas en Inglés) y con los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC -siglas en Inglés) para coordinar la respuesta al brote de COVID-19. Estamos proveyendo información a los proveedores de salud de nuestro condado sobre cómo evaluar de manera efectiva y segura a personas enfermas. Continuamos supervisando la situación de cerca, coordinando con nuestros colaboradores para identificar posibles casos de infección, proveyendo información y servicios de consulta para asegurar que los casos que se presenten sean diagnosticados y manejados de modo seguro, e implementando las recomendaciones provenientes de los CDC. Asimismo, realizamos investigaciones completas, y proveemos apoyo logístico desde transporte a hospedaje para todos los casos que resulten positivos.

¿Qué medidas pueden tomar los residentes del condado, y los visitantes, para prevenir COVID-19?

Cada individuo puede prevenir enfermedades:

Lávese las manos con jabón y agua por lo menos por 20 segundos, y hágalo frecuentemente.
Siempre cubra su boca cuando tosa o estornude.
Permanezca en su casa si está enfermo/a/x.
Si usted ha regresado recientemente de un país en el que la enfermedad COVID-19 está presente, monitoree su salud y siga las instrucciones de los oficiales de salud pública.
Cada individuo debe prepararse para la posible disrupción que un brote puede causar:
Asegúrese de tener un suministro suficiente de todos los medicamentos esenciales que su familia necesita;
Haga un plan alternativo de cuidados para menores de edad, para personas de la tercera edad y/o para personas adultas con discapacidades en caso de que usted o quienes proveen cuidados normalmente seas afectados por la enfermedad;
Haga un plan de acción para su familia en caso de que las escuelas cierren; y
También haga un plan de acción sobre cómo cuidar de miembros de su familia que se enfermen al mismo tiempo evitando contraer la enfermedad usted mismo/a/x.
¿De dónde proviene COVID-19?

Los virus llamados “coronavirus” son un numeroso grupo de virus que comúnmente afectan a distintos tipos de animales, tales como camellos, ganado, gatos y murciélagos. En raros casos, esos virus en animales pueden infectar a personas, y luego transmitirse de persona en persona. Actualmente no se sabe de qué animal proviene la enfermedad llamada COVID-19.

¿Cuáles son los síntomas del “novel coronavirus”?

En los casos confirmados de la “enfermedad del coronavirus 2019” (COVID-19 por sus siglas en Inglés,) la gravedad de las enfermedad ha variado de ligera a severa, e incluso fallecimiento. Los síntomas más comunes incluyen fiebre, tos, y falta de aire. Hasta la fecha los CDC creen que los síntomas de COVID-19 pueden presentarse entre 2 y 14 días luego de que alguien haya sido expuesto al virus.

¿Cómo se transmite el “novel coronavirus”?

El consenso actual es que el virus se transmite de persona a persona, entre personas que están en contacto cercano (unos 6 pies de distancia,) y a través de gotas muy pequeñas que emiten las personas infectadas cuando tosen o estornudan. Esas pequeñas gotas pueden depositarse en la boca o la nariz de personas que se encuentren próximas, e incluso pueden ser inhaladas y así llegar a los pulmones.

Esta es la época del año en la que el resfrío y la gripe son muy comunes, y muchas personas tienen síntomas de enfermedades que no tienen ninguna relación con COVID-19. Si usted tiene fiebre, tos, o falta de aire, llame a su proveedor de salud de inmediato y hágale saber sus síntomas y si ha realizado algún viaje recientemente. Por favor, asegúrese de llamar a su proveedor de su salud antes de presentarse en persona en su oficina, clínica, u hospital, para que el proveedor de salud se prepare por anticipado para su visita.

¿Puedo acceder a algún examen para determinar si tengo el “novel coronavirus”?

No es posible encargar un examen para determinar la presencia del “novel coronavirus.” Si su proveedor de salud lo estima médicamente necesario, él/ella ordenará los exámenes correspondientes.

¿Deberia hacer un test para saber si tengo el “novel coronavirus”?

El 4 de Marzo del 2020, los CDC actualizaron sus pautas para evaluar y reportar Personas Bajo Investigación (PUI, por sus siglas en Inglés) por COVID-19 a los efectos de expandir testeo a un grupo más amplio de pacientes sintomáticos. Estas nuevas pautas deben interpretarse cuidadosamente para evitar agobiar a nuestros sistemas de salud locales. Estamos trabajando en colaboración con los CDC y con el Departmento de Salud Pública del estado de California (CDPH, por sus siglas en Inglés,) para determinar cómo implementar estos cambios. Tan pronto como lleguemos a esa determinación, diseminaremos recomendaciones adicionales a los proveedores de salud en el condado de San Mateo a través de los canales regulares. Las pautas actualizadas de los CDC expanden el testeo a un grupo más amplio de pacientes sintomáticos. Los proveedores de salud deben utilizar su juicio profesional para determinar si un paciente presenta signos y síntomas compatibles con COVID-19, y si el paciente debe ser chequeado para detectar la presencia del “novel coronavirus.” Las decisiones acerca de qué pacientes someter a análisis deben basarse en la epidemiología local de COVID-19 y en el curso clínico de la enfermedad.

La mayoría de los pacientes con un diagnóstico confirmado de COVID-19 han tenido fiebre y/o síntomas de enfermedad respiratoria aguda (por ejemplo: tos, dificultad al respirar.) Instamos encarecidamente a los proveedores de salud que chequeen por otras causas de enfermedad respiratoria, incluyendo infecciones como la influenza.



Factores epidemiológicos que pueden ser de ayuda para decidir cuándo testear: toda persona, incluyendo trabajadores de salud, que hayan estado en contacto cercano dentro de los 14 días de la aparición de los síntomas con un paciente con diagnóstico de COVID-19 confirmado por un laboratorio, o con historial de viajes en áreas geográficas afectadas (ver abajo) también dentro de un período de 14 días desde la aparición de los síntomas.

¿Debo usar una máscara para evitar contraer el “novel coronavirus”?

Observar una buena práctica de lavado de manos es la manera más eficaz de prevenir la enfermedad. “Buena práctica” implica lavarse las manos con jabón y agua, y frotarlas durante no menos de 20 segundos. En este momento no recomendamos el uso de máscaras. No obstante, si usted decide utilizar una máscara, es importante que comprenda que la máscara no es un substituto para el lavado de manos. Lavarse las manos es la mejor estrategia. Si usted tiene fiebre o tos, se recomienda utilizar una máscara para prevenir que los gérmenes se propaguen.

¿Es seguro viajar?

La recomendación de los CDC es evitar todo viaje no-esencial a China y Corea del Sur. Los CDC mencionan a Italia, Irán y Japón como países en los que actualmente hay transmisión comunitaria sostenida de COVID-19, y recomiendan que personas de la tercera edad, así como personas con enfermedades crónicas, consideren posponer viajes no-esenciales. La situación mundial en relación con COVID-19 está evolucionando rápidamente, y es posible que más países se agreguen a la lista. Manténgase informado/a/x a través de las noticias de salud para viajeros de los CDC.

¿Existe una vacuna para el “novel coronavirus”?

No. Si bien actualmente existen varios esfuerzos para crear una vacuna en distintos lugares del mundo, actualmente no hay ninguna vacuna para protegernos contra el “novel coronavirus.”

¿Cuál es el tratamiento indicado para alguien que contraiga el “novel coronavirus”?

El tratamiento actual consiste en tratar los síntomas. No existe ningún tratamiento específico para el “novel coronavirus.”

Siento un alto nivel de estrés y agobio. ¿Qué puedo hacer al respecto?

Si busca información para acceder a servicios de salud mental y de adicción a substancias, contacte a su seguro médico. Si usted reside en San Mateo y su seguro médico es Medi-Cal, llame al (800) 686-0101 (Centro de Acceso a Servicios de Salud Mental y Recuperación de las Adicciones.)

Para recibir asistencia confidencial durante las 24 horas por parte de organizaciones locales y/o nacionales que proveen apoyo en caso de crisis, llame al (650) 579-0350 o al (800)273-8255. Para chatear online: envíe la palabra “START” al número de texto 741741.

Soy un proveedor de servicios de salud. ¿Dónde puedo conseguir más información?

Para información y alertas acerca del “novel coronavirus” para proveedores de servicios de salud, haga click aquí.

¿Dónde puedo conseguir más información?

Visite el sitio en Internet del COVID-19 del Departamento de Salud del Condado o visite el sitio en Internet de los CDC. Asimismo, puede acceder a más información a través de los enlaces listados a continuación.

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29 people like this
Posted by Insider/Outsider
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 5, 2020 at 5:39 pm

The schools in PAUSD do not have hand-sanitizer. Teachers are supplying the goods as they await the arrival of supplies. How many weeks has this health crisis been unfolding? Admn at the schools and at the District need to show that they care about students, teachers and staff.


18 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 5, 2020 at 5:42 pm

San Mateo County Health Officer:

"I have no reason to believe that how it’s spreading in other counties won’t be replicated to some degree here. We now all need to take assertive actions to inhibit the spread of this new virus. Some of those actions are described below. I advise that individuals, schools, business, and all other sectors of our community take immediate steps to change behaviors and take definitive action."

What is hard to understand abut this?????


18 people like this
Posted by PAResident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 5, 2020 at 7:21 pm

Thanks for posting the San Mateo guidelines, Peter. Seems like a more proactive approach than what Santa Clara has been up to so far.


19 people like this
Posted by Anonymous1
a resident of another community
on Mar 5, 2020 at 8:47 pm

palt is still dirty with limited supplies to wash hands.

One way to boost immunity is to let kids sleep. But they can’t because these teachers love homework overload . My kid has been an essay due every Friday night at 6 pm for a Friday class assigned on Friday. Also for the same class... work due on sat at 10am abs 39 pages to take notes on and a quiz on Monday.for tues they were assigned a group project with strangers to do after they got home and due wed . They had to do work all night on computers kids gave 5-7 classes How about stopping homework so kids can sleep instead of staring at computers staying up late to fill in ridiculous rubrics that have no worth.


22 people like this
Posted by Microbe-Manager
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 5, 2020 at 9:07 pm

Hello ! Canceled ! Palo Alto City Council Monday meeting. No message of reason for our town's worried people ? Like Tanaka said last week ,can't they they be present, in front of their computers with the live stream on? Close to public access the chamber hearing room. "We the people" could Skype live our concerns during public comment period. We are in the 21st Century, in the center of the virus, first county in the Nation to have a outbreak, and the second to declare a emergency. This is totally lame. Where is our leadership to help calm nerves and hear from their citizens their plan of action, prevention and mitigation. This is just wrong ! A National baseball game went on once, was broadcast live and no attendees in the stadium because of fear of gun violence. Stand up, let us be heard. At the very least post a "Due to a lack of supply of Purell supply (Costco ran out and Amazon is charging too much ) the Covid-19 response we postponed Monday's meeting. We welcome public comments by email . .. " So much emergency preparedness. I applaud the PAUSD for their continued messaging, resources, vigilance and care for our community. They appear to be the only prepared, sane ones leading on this. Is it time to call FEMA or what?


21 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 5, 2020 at 9:10 pm

Dear Council,

This movie will soon be showing here in Palo Alto..

We need strong and visible City leadership. The County can deal with the health issues but the City will have to deal with all the social and political issues.

You have to provide visible leadership before the crisis erupts.

Peter

Web Link


18 people like this
Posted by DavidZ
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 5, 2020 at 10:08 pm

The words of M. Leavitt from the DHHS are wise and ever more relevant: “Everything we do before a pandemic will seem alarmist. Everything we do after will seem inadequate.”


16 people like this
Posted by bizarre
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 5, 2020 at 11:46 pm

"Other public health interventions that have been used with some effect in other countries include commandeering of both real or personal property, conscription, curfew, and cordons. It is unlikely that these interventions would be used here due to practical considerations."

Practical considerations?


20 people like this
Posted by Practical considerations?
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 6, 2020 at 6:38 am

"Practical considerations?"

The guy in charge is too fearful his precious Dow average will fall further.

ie.. a 'practical' consideration.

Besides, he waited too long. Too long to test, note enough test when he promised a million tests in a week, etc..


16 people like this
Posted by Reality bites.
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 6, 2020 at 7:23 am

Harvard epidemiologist is predicting 20-60% of adults will be infected. Cats out of the bag.
Also reports airport screening misses 2/3rds of cases.

Other reports ~ 90 % known cases are mild. Death rate is sure to be far lower than current estimate because so few mild cases were probably tested.

So yes, it's spreading, and yet most people have nothing to worry about. However, we obviously want to slow the spread and prevent the vulnerable population from infection prior to better treatment, a vaccine, etc.

Panic doesn't help, but prevention and containment are still necessary.

Last night it was reported Google, facebook and twitter employers in the bay area advised employees to work from home. I expect that advice to continue.


25 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 6, 2020 at 1:01 pm

Do NOT believe what PAUSD is telling you. Kids in elementary, middle and high school -- all report NO hand sanitizer in their classrooms (except one class where the teacher brought in their own to use), no soap or paper towels in the bathrooms. The new cleaner that teachers are to use, is not kept in the classroom but has to be checked out from the office each time a teacher wants to use it, so it's not being used. RIDICULOUS!

The County says to keep arms length away from colleagues, but we stuff kids in classrooms sitting right next to each other. Multiple companies in SV are asking employees to work remotely, why are kids being forced to be close to each other, in small spaces, without hygiene products.

Research does indicate that kids are not as impacted by Covid 19, but if they are infected they are spreading the virus to their parents and other members of the community.


24 people like this
Posted by Insider/Outsider
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 6, 2020 at 1:06 pm

Student bathrooms do not have paper towels at Paly. The school has not supplied teachers with cleaning supplies, and in any given class, 2-4 students are absent due to health according to the notes in attendance.

I agree with DavidZ that due to community transmission this could spread. There are underlying health concerns that students, staff, and teachers have. PAUSD should take all these concerns into account, and close the schools down.


20 people like this
Posted by DavidZ
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 6, 2020 at 1:32 pm

PAUSD is taking direction on school closure from Santa Clara County Dept of Public Health. If you think the schools should close, please contact our County Supervisor Joe Simitian: supervisor.simitian@bos.sccgov.org

Also, please leave a comment on the SCC Dept of Public Health Facebook page: Web Link or on Twitter: @HealthySCC Web Link




25 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 6, 2020 at 1:43 pm

@Weekly
Please update the headline and story to reflect current number of cases in the county and latest advisories.


13 people like this
Posted by Anonymous1
a resident of another community
on Mar 6, 2020 at 1:46 pm

We could send them all to school and have them quarantined . The teachers could monitor them and maybe notice that they are giving them too much homework and that makes them miss sleep. Normal socializing and makes them sick. Also would be a nice break. I apologize for the joke. The virus and its affects are not funny . No risk should be taken when there is a known risk and a sure way to prevent it.


25 people like this
Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 6, 2020 at 3:29 pm

@Peter Carpenter & PAO Editors

The statement by the San Mounty County Health officer deserves to be on the front page here, not just at The Almanac. It is a sober serious attempt to get real. I don't get the sense most people are taking this seriously yet.


21 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 6, 2020 at 3:49 pm

"The statement by the San Mounty County Health officer deserves to be on the front page here"

I have submitted it to the Forum Moderators as a new posting.


15 people like this
Posted by Natural Selection
a resident of Ventura
on Mar 6, 2020 at 4:06 pm

We are doomed.


18 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 6, 2020 at 4:34 pm

From The Atlantic:

"Testing is the first and most important tool in understanding the epidemiology of a disease outbreak. In the United States, a series of failures has combined with the decentralized nature of our health-care system to handicap the nation’s ability to see the severity of the outbreak in hard numbers.

Today, more than a week after the country’s first case of community transmission, the most significant finding about the coronavirus’s spread in the United States has come from an independent genetic study, not from field data collected by the government. And no state or city has banned large gatherings or implemented the type of aggressive “social distancing” policies employed to battle the virus in Italy, Hong Kong, and other affluent places.

If the true extent of the outbreak were known through testing, the American situation would look worse. But health-care officials and providers would be better positioned to combat the virus. Hard decisions require data. For now, state and local governments don’t have the information they need."


20 people like this
Posted by Linda
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 6, 2020 at 4:53 pm

I agree with DavidZ.

Any important public health measures, including school closure and wearing masks need to be implemented promptly and early for them to be effective.

We have the Chinese experiences ahead of us. All these methods have been studies carefully, and the evidences shows that they are extremely effective in decreasing community viral transmission during outbreak by more than 10 folds. Why do we have to wait before this illness completely overwhelm our health care system and we lose lives.


21 people like this
Posted by Stanford cancels classes
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 6, 2020 at 8:38 pm

Stanford just cancelled all classes for the last two weeks of winter quarter. All exams and meetings must be done remotely.


13 people like this
Posted by al
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2020 at 9:09 pm

Hmmm. Asthma is more common in young people than adults, but it tends to be much more deadly in adults than kids, especially older adults. I wonder if there are any common underlying reasons there?


16 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 6, 2020 at 9:11 pm

Stanford has cancelled all classes for the next two weeks:


Web Link


17 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 6, 2020 at 11:31 pm

Like I said several days ago. The time to close all schools was then. It will happen anyway. Just too late to make a difference. After all that has been proven the past three years if you are still looking with anything Federal related for guidance don't know what to tell you.


17 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 7, 2020 at 8:20 am

“When the story is written about U.S. preparedness for this, Chapter 1 will be called ‘Squandered Time.’ Not just on the medical side, but on the preparedness side,” she said. “What were we doing? And now, how do we make up for lost time? It’s not just the kits. It’s why this week we seemed so flat-footed and surprised by things like school closings. School closings were inevitable the second we had the first patients.”

Web Link


13 people like this
Posted by Anonymous1
a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2020 at 8:43 am

On the flip side. The same day with the same recommendations from county health,, Gunn kids isrnt band to New York. Is there a plan in place for possible quarantine on lanes or hotels? Plan for lawsuit if one person gets sick on this school trip. ? Or just looking for bragging rights or teeny trophy.

Exposure limits risk . The adults are responsible for their students safety. You just do not take risks that are known. You avoid them. Yes you might not get sick. But you can never say you took a risk with children


20 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 7, 2020 at 8:52 am

My biggest concern is not the spread of the virus, which is now inevitable, but rather our lack community preparedness for the social strains that will accompany that spread.

We need to start today to strengthen, and sadly in most cases to create, strong neighborhood support and communication networks, create protocols to deal with food and supply shortages and, most important, demand that our local leaders start leading. The County Health Officers will provide medical guidance by our Mayors, Fire Chiefs and Police Chiefs have to become very visible with clear messages so that we the people have confidence that someone is actually in charge.


24 people like this
Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 7, 2020 at 9:29 am

If true, and I assume you are truthful, that is ridiculous about Gunn school taking a field trip now. (there is a typo in your post, so I assume that is what you are saying., right?). Our PAUSD leaders (sic) are sticking their heads in the sand. And I believe they are withholding information, and restricting information sharing (see those posts about Facebook groups being censored) and overall not allowing us (parents) to be part of the process, discussion and even have input on the decision. There will be an investigation and they will be held accountable.


17 people like this
Posted by DavidZ
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 7, 2020 at 5:56 pm

Please comment on the Santa Clara County Dept of Public Health Facebook page Web Link If you feel the county should recommend school closure to slow the spread of the coronavirus in our community or if you want more information about what testing capacity we have now in our county and when more capacity will be availabile.


27 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 7, 2020 at 8:02 pm

It is understandable that closing schools is a hardship. It is clear that Covid-19 does not impact children in the same way. HOWEVER, what about all the adults in our schools? There is absolutely no way to put in place social distancing in our classrooms and children could easily spread the virus not only between themselves, but to the teachers, aides, custodians, admins, etc in our schools. Not to mention bringing the illness home to those who are more at risk -- the elderly, the immunocompromised, etc. Are staff members who are at risk going to be allowed to "work from home" to guarantee social distancing?


21 people like this
Posted by Anonymous1
a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2020 at 11:57 pm

Interesting. Probably teacher union should make a statement. It does seem risky to the older staff members. . Should they have to take a rusk. A


17 people like this
Posted by Huh?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2020 at 12:38 am

[Post removed.]


25 people like this
Posted by Azarian Ziffman
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 8, 2020 at 7:28 am

@ Huh? : “ Influenza is just as much of a threat as coronavirus”

Not true.
Coovid has an Ro of 2+. And a death rate between 2 and 3%. Flue death rates are around 0.1%.
There are flue vaccines available. There is no vaccine for Covid.
Death by Covid is essentially slow lung failure and congestion (suffocation). If you’ve ever had a loved one die from pneumonia, you would be a lot more careful about trivializing Covid risks.


27 people like this
Posted by Teach
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 8, 2020 at 10:34 am

*Facts: If Don Austin would pull his head out he would realize how many point employee and student contacts there are already to known cases. We will all be going back to work on Tuesday.Chew on that.
*Still waiting for hand sanitizer.
*His Twitter feed is storied up on distractions, like school districts with similiar names like ours.Really guy?
*Local site admins are sheep. BBAAAAAA
But hey, gotta keep the brand name going right?


11 people like this
Posted by Linda
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 8, 2020 at 11:54 am

I


15 people like this
Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Mar 8, 2020 at 12:09 pm

If people would take everything in there life as seriously as some are taking this, there would be a less screwed up society. Just don't panic.


17 people like this
Posted by Anonymous1
a resident of another community
on Mar 8, 2020 at 12:33 pm

Interesting. They let groups go on out of state field trips on Friday even after the health department post . Did the groups go on their own and not ask ? Are trophies worth known risks? Why would district allow travel to international airports? What is thei plan if anyone gets sick or quarantined in New York?


16 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of another community
on Mar 8, 2020 at 12:47 pm

Same plan they have for other emergencies. None. They hire people and then are still not in compliance with supplies or training but can say who they hired.


23 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 8, 2020 at 5:28 pm

14 days ago, Italy had fewer coronavirus cases than we do today. They employed similar public health measures to us. Now they have >7000 cases (366 deaths). Unless I'm missing something, this is us in a fortnight. Hopefully, we won't wait that long before doing something more.


16 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of another community
on Mar 8, 2020 at 5:57 pm

Still not sure what the adults in charge let the groups gi out of state . What were Gunn parents told ? Was this part of a grade? Were they given the choice to avoid risk or convinced the trip was sooo important?


20 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 8, 2020 at 6:09 pm

"Hopefully, we won't wait that long before doing something more."

We already have waited too long. The virus is now widespread in the US.

Millions will get sick and many thousands will die.

The social stresses and unrest will be overwhelming.


18 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 9, 2020 at 7:23 am

Note that the number of confirmed cases in the US has DOUBLED in the last 24 hours.

That is what happens when you have a widespread virus AND you actually start looking/testing.


22 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 9, 2020 at 7:55 am

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Celine Gounder tells KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show that children haven’t actually gotten severely sick from the virus. That being so, there’s a different, important reason schools are closing anyway.

“The reason to close schools is actually not to protect kids,” she noted. “Kids are not the ones at risk — the reason to close schools is to protect adults.”

“Kids bringing coronavirus home to their mom maybe, who recently had breast cancer and has had chemotherapy,” Dr. Gounder continued. “Or Grandpa, who is older and in his eighties. That’s why you close schools.”

To that end, Gounder doesn’t actually recommend full closures of schools. Rather, she says a sort of “hybrid option” would be the best approach.


“Maybe in some instances, you don’t fully close the schools,” she described. “You allow whoever wants to come in to come in, and then maybe offer some remote options for kids who want to stay home and whose parents can have them stay home, and they may be doing web-based or remote kind of teaching.”

Follow live coronavirus updates here

That’s a measure she notes would be helpful especially for lower-income families, who often rely on reduced costs for school lunches, or with parents who can’t afford to take time off from work.

“If you are going to shut down the school completely, helping those parents and families with the added burden that’s going to create is really important,” said Dr. Gounder.

******************
Celine Gounder is an American medical doctor and medical journalist who specializes in infectious disease and global health. She was educated at Princeton University, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and University of Washington School of Medicine.As of 2018, Gounder practices medicine part-time while addressing her long time concerns with health issues as a medical journalist.


17 people like this
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Mar 9, 2020 at 9:23 am

Paly high school is an open campus and the district is ignoring the fact the every kid has been exposed to everyone at the Town and country village who are also Stanford students, San Mateo residents and international students etc....

At the very least, close the campus. No brainer. Kids can bring their own lunch and really suffer.

Heard that the Jr high took every kids temperature to ensure that no one was sick. Did they take the adult's temps? te bus driver? I bet not. That proves nothing and probably was not done properly. Still going on the trip with the public health reccomendations was putting kids at risk for an trip that was not necessary. Disneyland? People can be contagious before a virus. Science anyone?


12 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of another community
on Mar 9, 2020 at 7:40 pm

Have all the kids stay in first period and run remote classes for each period to make sure they are all logged in properly . This would be good to have in place for other situations too.

Also for kids who can not stay home they can be in one room a day and still have remote instruction at school
Really they have all already probably been exposed


21 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 9, 2020 at 8:04 pm

A GREAT letter from the Mayor of Menlo Park:

Dear Menlo Park Residents,

The health and safety of all residents in Menlo Park is our highest priority. I know there is a deep concern about the spread of COVID-19, also known as coronavirus.

I want to reassure you that the City of Menlo Park is taking action to address the situation. We must come together as a city to ensure everyone’s well-being during this public health emergency.

I see us working together in three ways:
The City of Menlo Park is coordinating with our public health officials at the San Mateo County Health Department, local and regional agencies and community-based organizations. Changes and measures have been adopted in daily operations and activities in the best interests of the residents in Menlo Park. Please visit menlopark.org/coronavirus for information and resources.

As individuals, it is important for each one of us to minimize our own risk of being infected by taking preventative measures within and outside our homes. It is as simple as washing your hands frequently, not touching your face, coughing or sneezing into a tissue and then throwing the tissue in the trash, avoiding crowded places if you are at a higher risk, and staying home if you are sick. For a full list of the actions you can take, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) coronavirus disease prevention and treatment website.

As a community, we can demonstrate values of compassion and decency by not spreading misinformation, educating ourselves, taking care of our most vulnerable residents, and not shaking hands.
As your Mayor, I will communicate with you regularly about COVID-19 in the coming weeks and months in coordination with city staff.
Mayor Cecilia Taylor portrait
My goal is to communicate accurate information, raise awareness and support your needs. I am more than hopeful we will get through this together.

Please feel free to email me with your questions and concerns. Prevention and preparedness moving forward is our best defense.

Cecilia Taylor
Mayor


15 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2020 at 7:49 am

With the ban on gatherings of over 1000 people banned and the sheriff and police actively looking for this, will our PAPD be spending time and effort monitoring this?

Who will be arrested? The organizers? Those 1000 people attending?

Many of our church buildings hold more than 1000 congregants. Will they be attending churches to check on numbers?

Will this stop public marches and protests?

From a purely practical point of view, how can this be implemented?


19 people like this
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 10, 2020 at 8:18 am

Still hoping people that minimize this will actually look at facts. The difference between .1 and 2. is big when applied to larger populations is not just 1.

You can not take a temperature, ( greene middle school for its band) and assume that no kid has or will have corona virus. This is the silliest thing I have heard and wonder who decided to do this to every kid going to Disneyland! Who would be so lacking in science ed. or just factual information regarding virus and bacterial infections.


25 people like this
Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 10, 2020 at 8:58 am

I am flabbergasted by the PAUSD's announcement yesterday. The logic is beyond stupidy and shows a total lack of understanding on how viruses spread. Here is the key part...

"At this time, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department currently is not recommending closing schools. If a staff member or student in a specific school is confirmed to have COVID-19, the Superintendent and local public health officials will consider, based on the specific facts and circumstances of that case, whether closure of that school is warranted. The Public Health Department is not recommending school closures at this time because individuals under 18 years of age have not been shown to be a high-risk group for serious illness from this virus."

So basically they are saying that because kids are not at high risk, they can continue to co mingle in large groups (schools) and spread the virus. Never mind that they go home after school and live with parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Or that they then roam the community spreading the disease more.

THIS IS HOW VIRUSES SPREAD!!

Where is the science? Where is the logic?


20 people like this
Posted by Concerned Citizen
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 10, 2020 at 9:02 am

In regard to Concerned Parent's just posted comment about the PAUSD announcement that kids are not at risk so they can go to school...

Here is a VERY well written article on how the math of virus spreading works and why taking early measures to limit the spread math pay dividends later for the WHOLE COMMUNITY.

Definitely everyone should read this. It explains it pretty clearly.

Web Link


14 people like this
Posted by Bean
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2020 at 9:33 am

Not that I want to be in a group of 1000+ at the moment, but isn't that a direct violation of the Constitution? Can this hold up in court?


15 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Mar 10, 2020 at 12:31 pm

The county has declared an emergency. Thus the ban is legal.

Could you really challenge the emergency? The case for it is compelling.


16 people like this
Posted by Scared
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 10, 2020 at 9:54 pm

3 TSA agents from San Jose international test positive, hmmm...how many ppl traveled in and out of there in the last 14 days?


18 people like this
Posted by PAResident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 10, 2020 at 10:55 pm

As the county itself described, testing so far has been quite selective and targeted. The LA times is reporting that thousands have been exposed to the virus in California. We need to do our own reading, educate ourselves and take our own precautions. We need to take this seriously.


27 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 11, 2020 at 12:59 am

It is insanity that schools are not closed. Closing schools will not halt the spread but it will greatly reduce the spread. This has been proven pretty clearly. Close schools now or do much worse later.


16 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 11, 2020 at 9:58 am

I mentioned this in response to another article. However, it deserves to be said again. Please use proper hygiene when you're in public.

While shopping at Costco last week, I saw three people (two men and a woman) sneeze without covering their mouths. It's baffling that people would do that. Everyone around them just looked at them and they just seemed annoyingly surprised that anyone even cared.

I suspect that the people sneezing (without covering their mouths) might have thought that they were targeted based upon their race (all three were Asian); however, it is really about taking precautions for others.

If you're going to sneeze, try to move aside (away from people) and use your arm or shoulder to mitigate the rapid spread of airborne germs.


19 people like this
Posted by Local Parent
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 11, 2020 at 12:03 pm

Sacred Heart School in Atherton will close its campus starting tomorrow, and continuing until April 14th (after their Easter Break). There has been no known contact with the virus at the school, but they made the call to be proactive to help stop the spread of the virus in our area. I haven't seen this news posted anywhere, so I thought I'd share it here.


11 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 11, 2020 at 12:04 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




20 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 11, 2020 at 12:37 pm

I just want to reiterate what a couple people on these posts have said before... I tried to post a message and a question (two posts) on the Gunn Parents Facebook page and both were removed.

THIS IS CENSORSHIP

And I think it is not in the best interest of our community to not allow parents to communicate with each other freely. I am shocked and ashamed something like this would happen in America, and even more shocked in Palo Alto. Shame on the people doing this.

Parents be wary of these school controlled information sources. Clearly they don't want us talking to each other freely.


12 people like this
Posted by Wow
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 11, 2020 at 12:47 pm

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

Trying not to be cruel here. If there's someone you feel safe speaking with, please do so.


12 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of another community
on Mar 11, 2020 at 12:56 pm

Ok keeping my kid home . Wondering if paly will find a way to punish my kid .


18 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of another community
on Mar 11, 2020 at 1:00 pm

I think sending my kid is neglect at this point.


Paly admin and some teachers need sci lessons.

A theater dept play with only 100 guests but with multiple shows should not be allowed.

Everyone , even teachers with egos, need to limit exposure to help everyone reduce risk. This is not a necessity to do the play live at this time . Tape it .


11 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 11, 2020 at 1:37 pm

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

All of the services that we take for granted require on-going maintenance - if enough employees are absent from work that might not occur. We WILL be putting huge new demands on the limited bandwidth that is available. Both of these factors will impact our individual internet service.

As for paper - that depends on wether or not their is s perceived shortage. Look what happened last week with toilet paper.


22 people like this
Posted by Wow
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 11, 2020 at 3:42 pm

It's a terrible new virus, particularly for the elderly. It's not the zombie apocalypse.

The vast majority of people recover, and are then immune. In a year or two, there will be a vaccine. In the meantime, telecommute, avoid stadiums, wash your hands, and keep calm.


12 people like this
Posted by C
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 11, 2020 at 6:03 pm

I keep wondering who came up with the euphemisms, "community spread" and "self-quarantine". Quarantine suggests protection of the public, but the reality is that "self-quarantine" means you can go out of the house (and "self-quarantined" people have gone out of the house) for anything, not just food and essentials. "Community spread" has the pleasant-sounding word, "community" when community spread really means they not only can't track how the victim got the virus, but don't know who gave it to him, nor whether or not the person who gave it to them has him or herself been quarantine. YOYO, folks.


13 people like this
Posted by IDontgetthis
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 12, 2020 at 10:57 pm

Mercury News: "Coronavirus: White House says Santa Clara County should ban gatherings over 250, businesses should screen all workers."

ABC 7 News: "Santa Clara County coronavirus: CDC asks county to ban gatherings 250 or more people."

the Office of Governor: "State public health experts announce that gatherings with 250 people or more should be rescheduled or canceled."

Then

(Mercury News)
"Santa Clara County issued a statement Wednesday evening saying that it would not be amending its current ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people to meet the recommendations to cancel events of larger than 250 people."

Why?


10 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:29 am

Sixty-six cases in a county with nearly 2 million people is literally 30 times worse than the proverbial “one in a million”

Angela Merkel claims that, extending her math to us, one milllion of us will catch this bug — or it they THEM will catch us.

Fasten your seat belt boys it’s going to be a long night.
Or as Shakespeare said, eerily prescient: ay, there’s the rub. But so far all the cases could fit rub a dub dub, three men in a tub. Ok, you’d need 21 tubs.

I went to a hockey game last week and a pandemic data point broke out. They literally sent me an email that said one of our part-time workers has the virus but we’ve determined the risk to you was very very small. And then the 10 o’clock it was today repeated the same story.

I guess given the number of people who play the lottery people should be scared of this 2.


11 people like this
Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 13, 2020 at 10:39 am

San Francisco's 113 public schools will shut Monday. No confirmed cases of the virus in any of the city’s schools, with 54k students. The school board said Thursday that it needed to be “proactive” rather than “reactive” in keeping students and their families safe amid the global pandemic.

This is what leadership looks like that wants to protect their community...


10 people like this
Posted by Student from Fisher Middle school
a resident of another community
on Mar 13, 2020 at 2:15 pm

im student from fisher middle school los gatos union school district and they are closing schools in santa clara valley which means fisher as well pls stay healthy everyone PAY ATTENTION TO THE NEWS FOR UPDATES


14 people like this
Posted by YP
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 14, 2020 at 5:09 pm

I think we need to slow down and think about consequences of going overboard. Let's be honest this has life threatening consequences for elderly people, the rest of us may get it but will recover.

So I posit the question, to what extent do we take draconian actions to save the lives of elderly people that are ALWAYS more susceptible to contagious diseases, and especially this one I grant that.

But what are the consequences of shutting down businesses. cratering small businesses , hourly workers out of work, people with no pay check, missing rental payments .... what is the impact to them mentally long term, suicides etc

So just asking , what is the price of saving lives of most vulnerable , vs impacting the lives of some much younger forever. I know crass, but that's the question, and please don't suggest the government will fully support those in need.


36 people like this
Posted by Numbers
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 14, 2020 at 5:46 pm

YP,

The problem you should be concerned with is the total number of sick.

There are 927,000 hospital beds in America.
The current Death rate of the Virus world wide is 3%
The Ro for the virus is 2.3
In the US, at the current transmission rates, there will be millions sick in a couple weeks (without social distancing measures to slow the transmission). Check out the exponential growth rate at Web Link
and how china was successful at arresting the spread by locking down their country.

Without quarantines and social distancing, the number of sick in the US will quickly exceed the number of available hospital beds. Meanwhile, when you get in an auto accident, stroke, complications in childbirth, etc, etc, there will be no room for you at the hospital (I assume you wont get Covid, right ?). The medical systems will be overwhelmed because they are not set up to deal with hundreds of thousands of people sick all at once.

Bottom line is, they are trying to slow the rate of the virus's spread so the number of stick stay at a manageable number. They cannot stop the deaths - which does not seem to be your concern. But they can try to keep the numbers manageable so you healthy folk like you can still get treated at the hospital, when you fall and break your wrist.


9 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2020 at 5:53 pm

The two last posters raised some good points and we do need these discussions.

However, the rate of death is probably lower than we think for the simple reason we are completely unaware of how many people have the virus. The fact that we have "confirmed" cases is because they have been tested. How many people who are staying home with a cold, feeling a little unwell, have the disease? How many healthy elderly people are staying at home with a cold have the disease? And how many people staying at home over the last month with a cold have had the disease and are now over it?

I know several people who have stayed at home with a cold just in case and are now well. They have all said that they don't think it is Covid 19, just a cold, but stayed home anyway. Who knows what they had.

We have a high rate of death because we really have no idea how many people are just recovering from it having never been confirmed as a recorded case.

Just another aspect to consider when putting the numbers together.


27 people like this
Posted by Numbers
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 14, 2020 at 6:17 pm

Resident,

Please review the data at : Web Link

Pick a country that you think would be testing the heck out of their population like Italy (which totally locked down). Italy's death rate is 7% . Their medical system is swamped.

You are welcome to wait for more data, but why not flatten the transmission curve while we wait for the Feds to get testing capabilities in place so you will have better data ? The countries for which we can plainly see the medical realities, know they waited to long to act to contain the numbers. This is just fact. Look at the data.

Allowing the virus to spread when simple steps like social distancing could slow the spread of the infection and constrain the total number of sick is... , well, just moronic.


20 people like this
Posted by C
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 15, 2020 at 4:02 pm

To follow-up on Numbers, here's an explanation of the "flattening of the curve", how social distancing slows the spread of a virus so that hospitals are not overwhelmed. It's a mitigation strategy (much like how we treat mumps or influenza), rather than containment. Same practice as self-quarantine, but different emphasis.

Or as Dr. Drew Harris put it, "It's the difference between finding an ICU bed & ventilator or being treated in the parking lot tent."

Web Link


35 people like this
Posted by name 1
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 16, 2020 at 12:38 pm

YP:
"So just asking , what is the price of saving lives of most vulnerable , vs impacting the lives of some much younger forever."

You are confused ... very confused. Those - be it older, or not - who die, those die forever. The lives of "so much younger" is not changed forever because their earnings went down.

The answer to "How many older people can we sacrifice so that the younger had their quality of life unchanged?" is "ZERO". Not one. Some may and will die but not because we chose our full paycheck over their lives.

Plus what Numbers said about the overloaded hospitals that you or "so much younger" may need badly.

Wow .... what's wrong with you. Find god, or something.


8 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of another community
on Mar 17, 2020 at 9:56 pm

Happy St. Patricks Day!!!


15 people like this
Posted by ABC
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 17, 2020 at 10:12 pm

2 out of the most recent 3 people announced were in their 50s. Would love to know whether there were underlying health conditions.


25 people like this
Posted by Chip
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 18, 2020 at 6:46 pm

@ YP-

Has it occurred to you that for covid statistical tracking purposes, anyone over 60 is counted as elderly. This age group is known for having CEO's, owners of businesses which may employ dozens or hundreds of YPs, as well as physicians, scientists, and professors who are working hard to find vaccines & cures for the covid virus.

Many cultures & societies depend on the contributions of the "elderly" for childcare (for the convenience of YPs who breed) and to teach younger generations within their familial groups how to survive.

Despite your bias for youth-entitlement, experience has value & not every YP has much potential for growth or to contribute to society. Judging from your comments, I wonder how much the world would suffer if you weren't part of it.


9 people like this
Posted by Curt Tomlinson
a resident of Los Altos
on Mar 20, 2020 at 7:26 pm

Something doesn't add up. The county lists a day-to-day increase of only 7 more cases. But another headline states "13 San Jose firemen test positive for COVID-19". I realize these firemen might not live in Santa Clara County, but it is statistically unlikely.


14 people like this
Posted by Viewer
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 23, 2020 at 9:41 pm

Thank you, Palo Alto Online. I have gathered more useful information from here than any other places.
Deeply appreciated.


10 people like this
Posted by C
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 24, 2020 at 1:15 pm

Note that the update of deaths includes a woman in her 40's, but no details of pre-existing conditions. A 39-year old woman in NY has also recently died, a school principal. No details of her health were released, but I assume she was healthy enough to work and may have exposed other school staff.


3 people like this
Posted by Community
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Mar 26, 2020 at 8:11 am

As I understand it, "community" cases mean cases untracked to a known source. But Santa Clara County acknowledged that it was completely unprepared for the tracking effort, and cannot track. Perhaps if these were tracked more than one degree we could learn something about the local sources and carriers. Surely with big data companies like Palantir can provide significant help in tracking the virus transmission.


6 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2020 at 9:17 am

Given the incubation time, the surge we are seeing now is mostly from infections that occurred before the full closure orders. From here on, we should start to see some leveling off from the full exponential growth. We hope. Here is my question:

Do we have enough statistics now to get any kind of sense for how we are doing? There has been such limited testing, all we, the general public, really know right now is how many cases there are now. Is there a site where we can see what the models show relative to our area(s) ?


2 people like this
Posted by Charles
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 26, 2020 at 8:21 pm

Web Link

Click on US on the LHS and the County data are presented.


5 people like this
Posted by Competence matters
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2020 at 12:57 am

Relatives in risk groups in red states are not taking this seriously. How can we shorten this timeline if they don't? Rightwing disinformation going all the way to washington dc is going to mean we don't get on top of this thing. The rightwing voters live in an alternate framework developed for them over so many years, they can't hear the warnings, and even if they did, they are believing it's all a "democrat" hoax intended to derail an election campaign. An infant in Illinois just died of it. No matter how bad things get, the right-leaning members of our society will not wake up, they will keep blaming the problems of their incompetent leaders on the evil democrat strawman, lather, rinse, repeat.

Read Michael Lewis' The Fifth Risk (NPR top pick last year or the year before)


Like this comment
Posted by Jonathan Brown
a resident of Ventura
9 minutes ago

The jump in reported cases means nothing without knowing more about how much testing has increased, the impact of the delay in reporting that's referenced by the county, and the hospitalization number which the County has stopped reporting, apparently at the direction of the state because other counties were not reporting their hospitalization numbers. Instead of being more transparent, Santa Clara County has become less transparent over time. A logical conclusion is that they don't want us to know how effective our shelter-in-place measures have been so that we aren't clamoring to lift the restrictions prematurely. I think they could show us the real data and still encourage people to obey the restrictions by showing that they are having an impact, but they need to be continued to the end lest we have a renewed spike in cases. The original two-week shelter-in-place period ends today. The County owes us a comprehensive status update.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
4 minutes ago

"The jump in reported cases means nothing without knowing more...."

Actually it still means something very important - we are in deep trouble and getting deeper. Exact dimensions of the trouble that we are in are yet to be determined.


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