Public health officers for Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties, as well as the City of Berkeley, were expected to issue revised shelter-in-place orders this week that largely extend the current restrictions through May.
The new orders were expected to include limited easing of specific restrictions for a small number of lower-risk activities, according to a statement issued Monday by the public health officers, although no details were provided.
The shelter-in-place orders currently in effect across the seven jurisdictions were set to expire May 3.
“Thanks to the collective effort and sacrifice of the 7 million residents across our jurisdictions, we have made substantial progress in slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus, ensuring our local hospitals are not overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases, and saving lives,” according to the joint statement. “At this stage of the pandemic, however, it is critical that our collective efforts continue so that we do not lose the progress we have achieved together.”
The statement noted that hospitalizations have leveled off, but “more work is needed to safely re-open our communities. Prematurely lifting restrictions could easily lead to a large surge in cases.”
The public health officers were also expected to release a broad set of indicators to track the region’s progress in its response to COVID-19. The future easing of restrictions would require that each jurisdiction continue to develop the infrastructure and systems “to respond to and control the spread of coronavirus infections and to ensure the health care system’s ability to meet demand.”
According to joint the “global pandemic of COVID-19 is still in its early stages.”
“The virus spreads easily, testing capacity is limited and expanding slowly, and vaccine development is just beginning,” the public health officers said. “We expect to be responding to COVID-19 in our communities for a long time. As effective as our efforts have been, if we move too fast to ease restrictions, the potential of exponential spread could have grave impacts to health and wellness of our residents as well as the economy.”