Santa Cruz County Health news conference, Nov. 10, 2020
9:43PM Nov 10, 2020
santa cruz county
skilled nursing facility
health care workers
Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks
for joining us is tear Tuesday. We are here with health officer Santa Cruz County Health Services Director, Paul, we have a brief press conference here and we'll get started. Whenever
I am ready. Good afternoon, everybody. Those of you who can see us, Mimi and I are both wearing red. That's your clue to our big news today that we have unfortunately been demoted from the orange tear to the red gear. I say unfortunately, because that means that there's going to be some reduced capacity and many of our businesses again in some will need to close all together. They're in a three day grace period for businesses to come into compliance with lower gear. That does go into effect today. As of now, I know I said unfortunately, but in a way, this is actually fortunate, because we have seen a big spike in cases in the last few days in Santa Cruz County. Over the weekend, we had on one day 109 new cases reported to us, we've been averaging 20 or so per day. And so that's a huge increase for us. And it's not representative of a backlog in any system. It's it's a true spike. And we're very concerned about this. It's very similar to what counties throughout the state have been reporting. So we are a good company and emotion. We're one of 11 counties who moved to a more restrictive tier today. One of tier those is LA. So a big part of our state has moved to more restrictive gear, la turn purple today. So that's a really big deal. And especially as we approach the holiday, we're so concerned about gatherings and travel and mixing with people outside our household. So we want to remind everybody that these are very risky times. Also flu season is here, and the weather's getting cold. And so we're moving indoors more. And all of those factors together make this a pretty risky time. So when we looked at our cases, we really didn't see a spike until the last few days. So we're just early into the investigation. But it looks like most of these are in young people, including the pediatric age group are under 19. And then our 20 to 34 year old group. And most of them seem to be linked to a Halloween event. So this is what we saw to the Fourth of July were about two weeks after Fourth of July, we saw an increase in cases about two weeks after that an increase in hospitalization. And fortunately, we accepted that and a number of deaths. So reminder that holidays and celebrations. Although we're all so starved for time with our friends and families. This is a very risk time, especially for elders and those who were medically vulnerable. So please rethink your Thanksgiving plans, and your travel bans your gathering plans. We have released some recommendations, they can be found on our website, Santa Cruz health org. There's also some press coverage on those today. So please, please be careful and try to get her only with your own household or your group of three households that you've designated as your stable gathering. A reminder that although things are getting worse in California, they're better than most of the rest of the nation. And especially travelers from outside of the Bay Area and outside of California. pose an exceptional risk to our communities. And if you're gathering with folks like that, you need to be especially careful. So part of the recommendations from the bajos the Bay Area health officer group that we have released yesterday. recommend that if you leave the Bay Area or region for travel, or if you gather with people outside of your group from who are from outside of the area. They You voluntarily self quarantine for 14 days after returned Santa Cruz County, that's a really big deal. It should be a big deal. It's a big deal to be gathering right now. And so really think about what you're doing and how you're choosing to celebrate Thanksgiving with your loved ones.
So back to red here. What is red mean? It means reduced capacity and those businesses which can remain open. The restaurants churches, movie theaters, museums drop from 50% capacity to 25%. gyms and fitness centers are dropped from 25% and 10%. bars were breweries, wine pubs with alcohol operations must close. wineries must close indoor operations, and amusement parks, family entertainment centers, non essential offices and large audience sports are no longer allowed. Some good news, we're working to dramatically increase testing in our community. And it looks as if we're going to be able to get a new optim serve site like the one Ramsey County but in North County, and we have a look probable location for that. We're very excited about it, it'll be a pedestrian walk in sight. And we're looking to almost double our capacity at Ramsey Park as well. So we're going to see a lot more availability of free testing for asymptomatic people. A reminder that if you do the covid symptoms, you should get tested as early in your disease course as possible. So contact your primary care provider or report to community Clinic Health Center for testing. We still are seeing a disproportionate impact in our South County and in the lot next community. And we continue to work with messaging ad campaigns in both Spanish and English to increase face covering wearing testing and harm reduction messaging around Coronavirus. And one of our ads was shown on Monday Night Football last evening, though it's getting out there. We're excited about that. The other good news and a friend is that vaccinations are getting close. So it is expected that the first batch of vaccines will be delivered to our county in December sometime. And the first fact will be two skilled nursing facility residents and staff as well as frontline workers with COVID-19 patients who were ill. So that would be first responders and health care workers who work directly in places like ice use urgency departments COVID wards in the hospital. locally here, our own our hospitalization, ICU and ventilator capacity is excellent. So we're nowhere near approaching concerns around that. But again, because of this surge, it's a very sharp increase that other counties are seeing across the state. We're keeping a close eye on that, of course. And we continue to work to have our alternate care fight ready should we have a hospital search. We've had a number of outbreaks throughout the county, including one in an assisted living facility that's getting contained. And the previous one in the skilled nursing facility has now passed through to full incubation periods, which means they can now accept new admissions and they have not had a positive case in four weeks. So they're open for business as usual. And with all the strictest precautions in place. What haven't typed heard
I think you've covered everything really, really well. Dr. Newell, I would just like to emphasize the importance of everyone doing their part to keep us our community open. And we do that by keeping everybody safe. There are a couple of concerning things. For me as a as a health director. One of them is that our epidemiological modeling shows that our effective reproductive number is greater than one. So what that means is, so first of all, the effective reproductive number is how many times times
it's the exponential increase of open, you want to keep it under one. And that means what's below one, it means each person who has coven transmits to one person or less. When you have each person transmission transmitting to more than one person that's exponential, it's very, very hard to control. And we have just exceeded that. So it's it's a huge factor. We look at hospitalizations, we looked at the effective reproductive number, as well as raw case counts. So it's really concerning that we have over 400 active cases. And we also have exponential spread. So if each of those one cases spread to more than one person to be two people, you can look at some models like Google them on the internet and see that it's really, really a dire situation for Santa Cruz County. So I The other thing is, I've heard a lot of anecdotal feedback from folks that we're working with in contact tracing and case investigation. And a lot of them who have participated in Hollywood activities. And, you know, family functions have said, well, the there will be a vaccine soon. But think it's important to note that yes, we may have a vaccine very soon. But that vaccine is only one part of a community strategy to keep COVID on control. And when we do have a vaccine, as Dr. Newell said, it will be first available to skilled nursing facilities, health care workers. And even when it is available to the general public, it's going to take some time. So the public needs to anticipate mask wearing distancing all of the things that we've been doing, plan on doing them for for quite a while, I would say the next year, even after we have a vaccine, though, you know, I know everyone's anxious, and they think that we do a little bit better than we can reopen. And I like to see this as a temporary situation. But it's, I urge everybody to prepare for the long term, especially through the holidays, and it's one difficult year where we can all take as much as we can to protect ourselves, our family members in our community.
Thanks, before we got to questions for members of the media that are watching