indica News Bureau-
To offer the best protection to their respective communities from the spread of COVID-19, seven health officers within six Bay Area counties in California have taken a bold step and on Monday announced a “Shelter-in-Place” a legal order, strictly limiting public activity starting midnight March 17 until April 7.
The press release states the unified step has been taken to slow the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and preserve critical health care capacity across the region.
“Temporarily changing our routine is absolutely necessary to slow the spread of this pandemic,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County Public Health Officer through the press note. “The Health Officers from the largest jurisdictions in the San Francisco Bay Area are united and we are taking this step together to offer the best protection to our respective communities.”
The guidance comes after the substantial input from the U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the order limits activity, travel and business functions to only the most essential needs.
On legal order “shelter at home” starts March 16 announced the Public health officers of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties announced, with the City of Berkeley.
The scientific evidence shows social distancing is one of the most effective approaches to slow the transmission of communicable diseases.
The shelter-at-home order follows new data of increasing local transmission of COVID-19, including 258 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 4 deaths shared by the seven jurisdictions, as of March 15.
The Bay Area’s collected confirmed cases is more than half of California’s case count. This does not account for the rapidly increasing number of assumed cases of community transmission. As testing capacity increases, the number of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases is expected to increase markedly.
The order defines essential activities as necessary for the health and safety for individuals and their families. This collective legal order comes one day after Governor Gavin Newsom ordered older adults, age 65 and older, stay home.
According to the press release, essential businesses are allowed to operate during the recommended action include health care operations; businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals; fresh and non-perishable food retailers (including convenience stores); pharmacies; child care facilities; gas stations; banks; laundry businesses and services necessary for maintaining the safety, sanitation and essential operation of a residence. In addition, health care, law and safety, and essential government functions will continue under the recommended action.
“While the goal is to limit groups congregating together in a way that could further spread the virus, it is not complete social shutdown,” said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County’s Public Health Officer. “You can still complete your most essential outings or even engage in outdoor activity, so long as you avoid close contact.”
On January 30, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, and the United States followed the next day by declaring a federal public health emergency.
On February 26, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed community transmission of COVID-19 in the San Francisco Bay Area, meaning the afflicted patient had no signs of associating with anyone who had been diagnosed with the virus, however, Dr. Erica Pan, an infectious disease specialist in San Francisco said, “Our counties share borders and many people live in one county and work in another. It’s absolutely critical for us to be aligned on COVID-19 mitigation efforts.”