News

Coronavirus weekend update: More than 150 new cases reported on Peninsula

Stanford, Menlo Park decide to close popular open spaces due to crowds

The coronavirus continued to take its toll on the Peninsula over the weekend, when Santa Clara and San Mateo counties together reported a collective total of 154 new cases of the coronavirus.

Santa Clara County's total of coronavirus cases surpassed the 1,000 mark late last week. As of Saturday, the county has reported 1,148 positive COVID-19 cases, representing 11% of the total tests conducted for the virus. The death toll reached 39. On Sunday, 54 more cases brought the county's total to 1,207 and no new deaths were reported.

In the past week, San Mateo County added more than 200 cases to its total of coronavirus cases (which was 538 as of Friday evening) and saw its death count more than double to 13. The county announced 52 more cases of the virus between Thursday, April 2, and Friday nights.

The virus infected 41 more people in San Mateo County, where the total of cases stood at 579 as of Sunday night. The death toll continues to stand at 13.

The upward trend in cases and deaths on the Peninsula and the rest of the Bay Area led to an extended shelter-at-home order announced Tuesday, March 31, and closure of all Santa Clara County schools for the rest of the academic year a day later.

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Temporary medical station welcomes first patients

A state Field Respite Center in Santa Clara opened its doors to two people with less-acute cases of the coronavirus, the county announced on Sunday.

Located at the Santa Clara Convention Center, the facility has beds, supplies and medication delivered by the National Guard and can accommodate up to 250 people. It was established with help from the state and federal governments to alleviate the volume of patients at hospitals in the area.

"Today's patients will have the ability to recuperate in a safe setting while still sheltering in place – keeping all of our residents and essential workers protected," county Supervisor Susan Ellenberg said in a press release.

Another COVID-19 treatment site was established last week at the San Mateo County Event Center to take on overflow from hospitals or people who can't go home for fear of exposing an elderly parent to the deadly virus.

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Park closures

Due to a "persistent minority" of people not complying with public health and safety measures at the Stanford Dish, the university closed all entrances to the popular walking trail on Friday, April 3, evening.

Menlo Park shut down Bedwell Bayfront Park Friday evening indefinitely in response to continuous heavy crowds – estimated at twice the daily average gathering at the park, the city said in a press release.

State ramps up testing efforts

Gov. Gavin Newsom is looking to increase California's COVID-19 testing capacity through a new task force that represents a public-private partnership.

The task force is co-chaired by Dr. Charity Dean, assistant director of the state Department of Public Health, and Paul Markovich, president and CEO of Blue Shield of California, a health plan provider.

Newsom said at a Saturday press conference that the state is currently working with University of California, San Diego, and University of California, Davis, to create a minimum of "five to seven hubs" for testing throughout the state and collaborating with various vendors to increase testing capacity.

Newsom also acknowledged Stanford University School of Medicine's first-in-the-state efforts to produce serology, also known as blood-based tests, which can help researchers further understand the virus by examining one's antibodies.

In addition to academic institutions, Abbott Laboratories, a company that makes medical devices, will provide 75 point-of-care testing sites, where results can be quickly produced in about five minutes, according to Newsom.

The efforts respond to the relatively low number of people within California who have been tested and received results so far. Newsom said that 126,700 people have been tested and 13,000 of those are still awaiting results.

"The issue of testing — I own that," Newsom said. "You deserve more and better."

Newsom also unveiled a new website, covid19supplies.ca.gov, for businesses and organizations interested in providing any critical equipment, from ventilators to viral testing media.

Palo Alto Weekly Editorial Assistant Lloyd Lee contributed to this report.

Read our latest news on the coronavirus here.

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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Coronavirus weekend update: More than 150 new cases reported on Peninsula

Stanford, Menlo Park decide to close popular open spaces due to crowds

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 10:11 am
Updated: Mon, Apr 6, 2020, 10:13 am

The coronavirus continued to take its toll on the Peninsula over the weekend, when Santa Clara and San Mateo counties together reported a collective total of 154 new cases of the coronavirus.

Santa Clara County's total of coronavirus cases surpassed the 1,000 mark late last week. As of Saturday, the county has reported 1,148 positive COVID-19 cases, representing 11% of the total tests conducted for the virus. The death toll reached 39. On Sunday, 54 more cases brought the county's total to 1,207 and no new deaths were reported.

In the past week, San Mateo County added more than 200 cases to its total of coronavirus cases (which was 538 as of Friday evening) and saw its death count more than double to 13. The county announced 52 more cases of the virus between Thursday, April 2, and Friday nights.

The virus infected 41 more people in San Mateo County, where the total of cases stood at 579 as of Sunday night. The death toll continues to stand at 13.

The upward trend in cases and deaths on the Peninsula and the rest of the Bay Area led to an extended shelter-at-home order announced Tuesday, March 31, and closure of all Santa Clara County schools for the rest of the academic year a day later.

Temporary medical station welcomes first patients

A state Field Respite Center in Santa Clara opened its doors to two people with less-acute cases of the coronavirus, the county announced on Sunday.

Located at the Santa Clara Convention Center, the facility has beds, supplies and medication delivered by the National Guard and can accommodate up to 250 people. It was established with help from the state and federal governments to alleviate the volume of patients at hospitals in the area.

"Today's patients will have the ability to recuperate in a safe setting while still sheltering in place – keeping all of our residents and essential workers protected," county Supervisor Susan Ellenberg said in a press release.

Another COVID-19 treatment site was established last week at the San Mateo County Event Center to take on overflow from hospitals or people who can't go home for fear of exposing an elderly parent to the deadly virus.

Park closures

Due to a "persistent minority" of people not complying with public health and safety measures at the Stanford Dish, the university closed all entrances to the popular walking trail on Friday, April 3, evening.

Menlo Park shut down Bedwell Bayfront Park Friday evening indefinitely in response to continuous heavy crowds – estimated at twice the daily average gathering at the park, the city said in a press release.

State ramps up testing efforts

Gov. Gavin Newsom is looking to increase California's COVID-19 testing capacity through a new task force that represents a public-private partnership.

The task force is co-chaired by Dr. Charity Dean, assistant director of the state Department of Public Health, and Paul Markovich, president and CEO of Blue Shield of California, a health plan provider.

Newsom said at a Saturday press conference that the state is currently working with University of California, San Diego, and University of California, Davis, to create a minimum of "five to seven hubs" for testing throughout the state and collaborating with various vendors to increase testing capacity.

Newsom also acknowledged Stanford University School of Medicine's first-in-the-state efforts to produce serology, also known as blood-based tests, which can help researchers further understand the virus by examining one's antibodies.

In addition to academic institutions, Abbott Laboratories, a company that makes medical devices, will provide 75 point-of-care testing sites, where results can be quickly produced in about five minutes, according to Newsom.

The efforts respond to the relatively low number of people within California who have been tested and received results so far. Newsom said that 126,700 people have been tested and 13,000 of those are still awaiting results.

"The issue of testing — I own that," Newsom said. "You deserve more and better."

Newsom also unveiled a new website, covid19supplies.ca.gov, for businesses and organizations interested in providing any critical equipment, from ventilators to viral testing media.

Palo Alto Weekly Editorial Assistant Lloyd Lee contributed to this report.

Read our latest news on the coronavirus here.

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

Comments

resident
Downtown North
on Apr 5, 2020 at 11:32 am
resident, Downtown North
on Apr 5, 2020 at 11:32 am
17 people like this

With all these parks closing, people are walking on the sidewalks for exercise. To all you car drivers: please obey the speed limits. Come to complete stops at all stop signs and stop lights, even when you are turning right. Look for and yield to pedestrians at all crosswalks, including unmarked crosswalks and crosswalks without traffic lights or stop signs. When making a turn, make sure you check both of the crosswalks that you are driving across. When pulling into or out of a driveway, carefully check the sidewalk before driving across it. When parking your car, avoid parking near crosswalks or intersections or busy driveways to help make pedestrians more visible at those especially vulnerable locations. Thank you.


Nancy
Midtown
on Apr 5, 2020 at 12:24 pm
Nancy, Midtown
on Apr 5, 2020 at 12:24 pm
18 people like this

Yes, with all the park closures, sidewalks are more likely to get crowded and unsafe. What is the next step? Closing sidewalks?

Or perhaps reopening some parks? More wide open spaces present more opportunities for people to SAFELY stay fit and healthy, which helps combat the virus with fewer symptoms and less likelihood of straining the health system.


Incredulous
Evergreen Park
on Apr 5, 2020 at 11:25 pm
Incredulous, Evergreen Park
on Apr 5, 2020 at 11:25 pm
36 people like this

Stop with the whining already! If you REALLY want to exercise, there are plenty of ways inside your house or around your house!


Resident
Midtown
on Apr 6, 2020 at 1:27 am
Resident, Midtown
on Apr 6, 2020 at 1:27 am
12 people like this

How difficult is it to keep a safe distance from others, especially when you are in an OPEN space? You have only one job to do to keep everyone safe. The more we follow these rules the sooner this will be over. Don't suddenly pretend we are all healthy people by going out to exercise. There are plenty of ways to do that at/around your home too.


Dish runner
Barron Park
on Apr 6, 2020 at 7:17 am
Dish runner, Barron Park
on Apr 6, 2020 at 7:17 am
12 people like this

The Dish was my haven. I would get up at 5 to be at the gate shortly after 6 each morning to run/walk. The experience of watching the sky transform from night to sunrise, the beauty of deer grazing and other wildlife roaming, was the most spiritual, reassuring, beautiful experience I can imagine.

How hard was it for people to follow 3 simple rules?: walk on the 1)right hand side of the path 2) single file 3) at least six feet apart? If everyone had done that the Dish would still be there for us. But some people were too selfish or cavalier to follow those rules and as a result hundreds of people are deprived of a spiritual and physical lifeline. Shame.


S_mom
Community Center
on Apr 6, 2020 at 9:21 am
S_mom, Community Center
on Apr 6, 2020 at 9:21 am
13 people like this

It's definitely stupid that people weren't maintaining the proper distance in open spaces. But, it's still hard for me to believe that these outdoor spaces could be a significant source of coronavirus infections, possible of course, but unlikely. Also aren't the "new" cases we're getting based on infections that occurred probably 2 weeks prior (between the incubation period, time to get sick enough for a test, and test processing time)? Seems to me that means that our daily numbers reflect our social distancing measures from about 2 weeks ago (or more probably). So I'm not sure the numbers "going up" truly mean that the current measures aren't working, though right now I understand wanting to err on the side of safety. If the numbers start trending down soon I do hope they are willing to rethink some of the more draconian measures that are likely to carry small risk -- that includes open space closures, not allowing very small businesses to resume work, etc. We don't have to be all or nothing with respect to staying home if our numbers aren't bad.


Its the community mixing thats the issue
Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 6, 2020 at 9:50 am
Its the community mixing thats the issue, Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 6, 2020 at 9:50 am
7 people like this

I don't think it's a place where big infections are going on, but it's an attractive nuisance that draws others from outside the community who will then mingle within the dish community or along the way home to wherever that is.
If they are infected while this happens, it spreads. If they become infected then take it back to their community, it spreads.

In order to reduce the spread the key factor s to control community mixing, which Stanford understands. The State also understands the draw of big parking lots at their parks and beaches, so then have closed those lots in order to stop people from driving in. They are wearing a white hat in the fight against corona's spread.


Difference
Stanford
on Apr 6, 2020 at 11:24 am
Difference, Stanford
on Apr 6, 2020 at 11:24 am
6 people like this

S_mom, I think you've made excellent points. My heart is also hurting for very small businesses, which are extremely unlikely to contribute to the spread of the virus, but are going through tremendous hardship because of long weeks of these draconian measures.

I understand that many people support the strictest approach because they believe that we are making a big difference with some very low risk parks or shops. But at this point, the most significant spreading probably occurs at places we simply can't close (hospitals, nursing homes) and has little to do with hikers in good health who are predominantly staying well over 6ft apart. I hope that the majority will soon understand that this complex situation fundamentally isn't "all or nothing" and that we shouldn't treat it that way.


S_mom
Community Center
on Apr 6, 2020 at 11:32 am
S_mom, Community Center
on Apr 6, 2020 at 11:32 am
2 people like this

@Its the community mixing thats the issue

That makes sense, I didn't really think about that. But they've also closed the plain grass areas of our local parks, that seems like overkill to me (though I do understand that they made quick, broad decisions that might be overbroad just for convenience and simplicity). I just hope that if this drags into a multi-month situation where it looks like we aren't over capacity at hospitals but it still makes sense to remain at mostly home they will reconsider some of these measures that are likely to have minimal risk but a big downside for livelihoods (very small businesses) and quality of life (parks).


Charles Sieloff
Triple El
on Apr 6, 2020 at 11:56 am
Charles Sieloff, Triple El
on Apr 6, 2020 at 11:56 am
3 people like this

I think it is very misleading to continue placing so much emphasis on the number of new cases reported each day. Given the woefully inadequate level of testing in our region, this statistic is largely meaningless, and its growth is almost entirely a side effect of increased testing (finally!). It would be much more meaningful if you focused on the number of deaths and the number of critical care patients per 100,000 residents in each county or city. These numbers are reasonably accurately reported and are the numbers we should be watching to evaluate the effectiveness of our shelter in place measures.


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on Apr 6, 2020 at 11:56 am
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on Apr 6, 2020 at 11:56 am
Like this comment

The model at U Wash (great name!) that you linked to last week shows the curve flattening, even over the last five days, so to me that looks like the social distance plan is working.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2020 at 12:01 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2020 at 12:01 pm
3 people like this

Posted by Difference, a resident of Stanford

>> I understand that many people support the strictest approach because they believe that we are making a big difference with some very low risk parks or shops. But at this point, the most significant spreading probably occurs at places we simply can't close (hospitals, nursing homes) and has little to do with hikers in good health who are predominantly staying well over 6ft apart.

Most, but not all. Small groups, or serial meetings, of unrelated people, or relatives from different households, may be passing along COVID-19 without being very sick at all-- indistinguishable from hay fever or whatever-- and passing it along to other family members back in their respective households. Some of those unrelated households may be in another town or county. Often, there is no way for others to know if the people live in the same household, are closely related, or, just are friends.

So, I think almost everyone is agreed that a family keeping to itself in the woods is not a risk, but, as has been seen, things have a way of becoming too chaotic, or, at least, appearing to be.


umichaelr
Palo Alto High School
on Apr 6, 2020 at 2:21 pm
umichaelr, Palo Alto High School
on Apr 6, 2020 at 2:21 pm
3 people like this

I saw the closure of the Dish Trail coming when I was there on 4/3, trying my best to steer clear of groups walking three abreast and taking up the entire path. This absence of mindfulness - whether selfish or cavalier, and, really, what's the difference?) - made me extremely uncomfortable, and I knew at that point that my days of walking the Dish had ended for the foreseeable future.
BTW, I do have a solid exercise routine at home, augmented by walks around the neighborhood. It was nice to be able to add a bit more aerobic challenge for the walking part from time to time.


They need to close Rancho
Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 6, 2020 at 3:12 pm
They need to close Rancho, Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 6, 2020 at 3:12 pm
Like this comment

They closed it for a mountain lion sighting, which are always there but someone actually filmed it so they closed the park. They clearly don;t see or understand the threat. I guess you can't chase a virus up a tree with dogs so they can't comprehend it.


Brooke
Menlo Park
on Apr 6, 2020 at 6:08 pm
Brooke, Menlo Park
on Apr 6, 2020 at 6:08 pm
3 people like this

Walkers - PLEASE be sure to STOP and LOOK before just walking into the street. People are very distracted with the COVID-19. As we were all taught when we were children, STOP, LOOK and LISTEN. I am a law abiding bicyclist and have have people walk right in front of me and I can barely stop in time.


MidPen Mountain Lion
Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 7, 2020 at 5:46 am
MidPen Mountain Lion, Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 7, 2020 at 5:46 am
Like this comment

Rancho San Coronio closed the lots because of a Mtn Lion sighting. Verification of coronavirus wildly spreading through the larger area through community mixing are not enough to close the gates though.

MidPen's priorities:
A mountain lion could kill someone, though it hass never actually happened here, ever. OK maybe 200 yrs ago, once.
Corona virus is small and unseen so not as much danger there, says MidPen.
They encourage you to come from Miden with no issues if you come from afar, teasing you into town with huge parking facilities ready to accommodate you. Surrounding elderly community be damned.


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