Bay Area health officials and hospital networks expressed support for new COVID-19 restrictions put in place by Santa Clara County.
The restrictions were put in place in response to the continuing rise of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Santa Clara County, according to a statement by county health officials. The order, which went into effect Monday, restricts a wide variety of city activity, limiting hotels to essential travel and reducing business capacity. Public health officials from the city of Berkeley and Alameda County, along with three other Bay Area counties, have endorsed these measures, according to a city of Berkeley press release.
“What we see in the South Bay today we may soon see across the whole Bay Area,” said Alameda County health officer Nicholas Moss in the press release. “These actions will help slow the spread of COVID in Santa Clara County and beyond.”
The order also includes a mandatory directive on travel, which discourages nonessential travel and requires a 14-day quarantine of any individuals traveling into the county from more than a 150-mile radius.
On Saturday, Santa Clara saw a record high of 760 new COVID-19 cases and 239 coronavirus-related hospitalizations, including 71 in intensive care.
In contrast, Alameda County’s coronavirus dashboard indicates that as of Monday, a total of 188 people are being hospitalized due to COVID-19, with 51 in intensive care units.
Sutter Health, which facilitates the Alta Bates Summit Medical Centers in Berkeley and Oakland, said in an email statement that it is monitoring the situation closely, adding that it currently has enough capacity for COVID-19 patients as well as others with different health care needs.
“Because our integrated network of hospitals, surgery centers and ambulatory clinics are interconnected, we are able to move resources … to where they are needed most,” Sutter Health said in the statement. “This structure and coordination gives our system the flexibility to increase critical care capacity if needed.”
While the new rules only apply in the Santa Clara health jurisdiction, Berkeley city officials are wary of potential increases in cases following the holiday weekend, according to city spokesperson Matthai Chakko.
Chakko said although the city is not currently changing its restrictions, officials are taking into consideration “troubling” upward trends of hospitalization and infection rates.
The city has seen a 1.17% positivity rate over the past four weeks, Chakko said, although he acknowledged that since nonresidents tend to move through the city, greater regional numbers should be taken into consideration.
Berkeley has not imposed travel restrictions such as those in Santa Clara, although Chakko said the city is recommending that travelers self-isolate for 14 days to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“We are seeing a huge surge around the state and region, and it doesn’t have to be this way,” Chakko said. “The virus moves easily, but wearing a face covering and avoiding gatherings is very easy. If people can do these simple actions, it will be the most powerful way for people to prevent mushrooming of the cases.”