Santa Clara County health officials, noting “significant” progress in reducing the spread of Covid-19, announced a revised shelter-in-place order that loosens some restrictions beginning May 22.
Under the new order, retail establishments can offer storefront pick-up, and manufacturing, warehousing and logistical operations that support retail can resume. More outdoor activities can also resume, including car parades, outdoor museums, historical sites and publicly accessible gardens.
“Our collective effort has significantly reduced the spread in the county, and we have a little headroom to take a cautious step forward,” said Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody.
In the two weeks since construction and certain outdoor businesses were allowed to resume, the number of new Covid-19 cases, as well as hospitalizations, has remained stable and decreasing in some instances, according to Cody. Two weeks represent the longest known incubation period for the virus.
While county officials are only halfway toward their goal of testing 4,000 people a day, Cody said the decrease in positive cases has improved significantly. In early April, when the county was testing less than 600 people a day, the positivity rate hovered around 9 percent, according to Cody. Now, with roughly 1,600 tests a day, that number is now around one percent.
Under the new order, all businesses must also complete a social distancing protocol that implements new state requirements for training and other measures. Businesses must place a “Covid-19 Prepared” sign and Social Distancing Visitor Information Sheet in a prominent place near their entrances. Sign templates are available at tinyurl.com/y9kxhw5d.
Residents are still required to stay home as much as possible, wear face coverings when out in public and follow social distancing protocols.
Cody acknowledged the order has “profoundly disrupted the lives of all members of our community.”
“We’re going in gradual measured steps,” she said. “We are going as quickly as we can. We understand the urgency, but we don’t want to have to go backwards. That’s why we are proceeding as we are.”
As of May 17, the county confirmed 2,453 Covid-19 cases, with 75 hospitalizations.