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Bay Area likely to extend stay-at-home order, San Francisco mayor says

Angie Muscat, 6, hula hoops as mom Christina Dam (left), dad Jason Muscat (second from left), grandmother Becky Muscat (second from right) and grandfather Bob Muscat (right) look on at the Main Parade Grounds in the Presidio in San Francisco.
(Gabrielle Lurie/The San Francisco Chronicle)

San Francisco Mayor London Breed said it’s likely the Bay Area’s shelter-in-place order will get extended beyond the current expiration date of May 3.

“People are asking about this: Will the public health order get extended? The likelihood that that will happen is very likely. And what that means is another few weeks, or even a month, of asking you all to comply and to remain at home and to continue to follow the social distancing orders that we put forth,” Breed said.

Her statements echoed what Gov. Gavin Newsom and others have said — that stay-at-home must be maintained until it’s clear that easing restrictions won’t cause greater illness and economic disruption in the battle against the coronavirus..

“How we reopen is going to be important to ensuring that we do it responsibly so that we don’t go backward,” he said.

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Breed added that testing and personal protective equipment must be adequate before any lifting of the order, and hospitals must be ready for another surge of infections.

Los Angeles County officials are developing a plan to slowly ease stay-at-home orders, but four key benchmarks must first be met.

“We don’t want to undo all the good we’ve done and accomplished so far,” Supervisor Kathryn Barger said Friday. “We are not yet on the other side of this pandemic and we don’t want to prematurely ease restrictions.”

She said the county will first need to make sure that its hospitals are adequately staffed, have enough resources to perform testing, and have a sufficient number of ventilators and other medical supplies to handle routine care as well as possible influxes of COVID-19 patients.

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Second, the county must ensure that protections are in place for the most vulnerable, including the elderly, homeless people and those who live in institutional settings or don’t have access to services.

Third, the county must have the capacity to test, isolate and quarantine all those who are ill, as well as to conduct surveillance to prevent further spread.

Los Angeles Times’ visual coverage of the coronavirus crisis

And fourth, the county must maintain physical distancing and infection control measures, including by providing businesses with educational materials and guidance to ensure that the rules can be followed when they reopen.

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Newsom said this week that most of the six milestones he set to consider loosening the stay-at-home order he issued last month have not been met. The only change the governor has made is to allow some elective surgeries to again be scheduled in hospitals, citing sufficient capacity.

The six goals include the ability to closely monitor and track potential cases; prevent infection of high-risk people; prepare hospitals to handle surges; develop therapies to meet demand; ensure schools, businesses and child-care facilities can support social distancing; and develop guidelines for when to ask Californians to stay home again if necessary.

On Wednesday, the health officer for Santa Clara County, Dr. Sara Cody, said the discovery this week that the coronavirus was infecting people — undetected — earlier than they had thought illustrated how important the shelter-in-place order is to slow the spread of the virus.

The earlier deaths demonstrate how “community transmission had arrived much earlier than we were able to detect it,” Cody said. “And I think it really highlights the importance of the shelter-in-place [order] in protecting the community and preventing hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19.”

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Cody did not directly answer a question asked at a news conference Wednesday about what she thought about relaxing the stay-at-home order.

“We anticipate that this pandemic is going to be going on for a very, very, very long time. We know that we do not have immunity in the population. Nor do we have a vaccine,” Cody said. “So any time that we let up on our mitigation measures, we are going to expect to see a spike in cases, hospitalizations and deaths. That is certain.”

Two northern Bay Area counties have already extended their stay-at-home orders. Solano County, which includes Vallejo and Fairfield, extended its order til May 17.

Napa County announced its stay-at-home order will now be in effect indefinitely, but with the following changes:

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• Permits construction with proper physical distancing.
• Permits drive-in religious services with proper physical distancing.
• Permits in-person residential real estate viewings with proper protocols.
• Permits landscaping and gardening maintenance that is not purely for cosmetic purposes.
• Allows the use of golf courses and driving ranges with documented protocol.
• Strongly recommends the use of cloth face coverings when outside the home.

Lin reported from San Francisco and Wigglesworth from Southern California.


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