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.
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.
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