State Reopening Too Fast, Says Santa Clara County Health Officer

Matt Bigler
May 27, 2020 - 10:32 am

    Even as the state begins to lift some COVID-19 lockdown measures, Santa Clara County's top health official says it may be too much too soon.  

    "Making changes too frequently leaves us blind," Dr. Sara Cody said. Because the incubation period of the virus is 14 days, health officials say it takes weeks to see how relaxed restrictions have impacted the infection rate. "We can’t see the effects of what we just did."

    Dr. Cody made the comments at a Tuesday meeting of the county’s Board of Supervisors. 

    "The state modifications are being made without a real understanding of the consequences of what the last move has been, and with the possibly serious effects for health is possibly serious risks of an exponential growth in cases, and therefore a risk to social and economic wellbeing," Dr. Cody said. 

    In the last week or so, Gov. Gavin Newsom has allowed parts of the state to resume in-person dining at restaurants, haircuts, in-store retail shopping and indoor worship services with up to 100 people. 

    "The pace at which the state has made these modifications is concerning to me," Dr. Cody remarked.

    She expressed particular concern about the new rules for places of worship because of the large number of people that will be able to congregate.

    "If there’s one COVID positive individual at such a large event it would rapidly exceed even our current ambitious and unprecedented effort to establish a large case investigation and contact tracing workforce here and elsewhere throughout the state," Dr. Cody said.

    Her comments come as the Bay Area has seen a surge in cases and the county responds to an outbreak at a fish packing plant in Morgan Hill. Nearly 40 employees of Lusamerica Foods have tested positive for the virus.

    The governor said Tuesday after announcing the reopening of hair salons and barber shops that he is confident the state will be able to track the impact of the changes.