As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, Santa Clara County officials and organizations announced wide-reaching plans to house and care for homeless residents throughout the ongoing public health crisis and stay-home orders.
Furthermore, seven jurisdictions in the Bay Area that issued the current ongoing stay-at-home order on March 17, announced today that the order will likely be extended at least through May 1. The extension of the order will be formally issued by the public health officers of the counties of Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and the City of Berkeley in the next day or two.
As of Sunday, 646 people in Santa Clara County have tested positive for the COVID-19 illness. Twenty-five people have died due to the illness or complications thereof, according to county staff.
On Friday, March 27, the county unveiled a new online “dashboard” that provides a quick glance, updated daily, of cases and other local information related to COVID-19. The dashboard can be found online at https://www.sccgov.org/sites/phd/DiseaseInformation/novel-coronavirus/Pages/dashboard.aspx
County health officials cautioned that the number of COVID-19 cases is likely much higher than the official statistics suggest, due to the lack of testing. “Because of limited testing capacity through the Public Health Laboratory, the number of cases that we detect through testing represent only a small portion of the total number of likely cases in the county,” reads a county statement.
Help for the homeless
County officials over the weekend also announced local plans to care for homeless residents who are affected by the novel coronavirus.
As of March 26, Santa Clara County and the City of San Jose have secured the use of 172 hotel and motel rooms in San Jose, Santa Clara and Gilroy, reads a press release from county staff. The hotel rooms will be used for “isolation and quarantine” of homeless individuals who are considered vulnerable or who have experienced some degree of exposure to COVID-19.
Officials are also taking the following steps to stop the spread of COVID-19:
• Preparing temporary shelter capacity at the county Fairgrounds with the City of San Jose preparing Parkside Hall and South Hall for use as temporary shelters;
• All existing shelters are now operating 24/7 and practicing proper social distancing;
• Seasonal shelters are remaining open through April 15;
• The County and City are keeping restrooms open 24/7 at several parks;
• The City’s safe parking programs are operating 24/7 and the overnight warming locations (OWLs) will soon follow.
• Hygiene facilities with hand sanitizers have been placed at 14 sites in San Jose, four in Mountain View and three in Gilroy at locations with relatively large groups of unsheltered persons; these include handwashing stations, portable toilets, clean water and refuse pickup;
• The County, City and their partners have provided flyers and guidance in multiple languages as well as hand sanitizers to our homeless prevention advocates, shelters agencies, outreach programs, day centers, supportive housing program sites, and affordable housing sites;
• Under the County’s Public Health Officer order to shelter in place, businesses that provide food, shelter, social services, and other necessities for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals are considered essential businesses and continue to operate and support partners;
• The County is preparing to add temporary shelter capacity at the Fairgrounds and the City is preparing Parkside Hall and South Hall to be used as temporary shelters.
• The City has taken delivery of 105 trailers provided by the State of California and located in the East Parking Lot of the Kelley Park complex at Story Road and Remillard; these trailers will be refurbished and used to temporarily shelter homeless and unstably housed residents in the coming weeks.