Public health officers of the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara, as well as the City of Berkeley announced the extension in a joint statement on April 27, noting that while they would be issuing “revised” shelter-in-place orders later this week, they would “largely keep the current restrictions in place and extend them through May.”
However, the extended orders, which were initially set to expire May 3, will include limited easing of specific restrictions for a small number of lower-risk activities, although officials stressed that “prematurely lifting” some restrictions could “easily lead to a large surge in cases.”
“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,” the health officers said in a 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. Hospitalizations have leveled, but more work is needed to safely re-open our communities. Prematurely lifting restrictions could easily lead to a large surge in cases,” they added.
Officials will release further details later this week, along with the updated order.
Along with the revised order, health officers will also release a set of broad indicators that will be used to track progress in preparedness and response to COVID-19, the disease caused by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, commonly called novel coronavirus.
They noted that “future easing of restrictions requires that each jurisdiction and various sectors continue to rapidly build critical 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.”
Shortly after Monday’s announcement, San Francisco Mayor London Breed said that extending the stay-at-home orders was one of the “most difficult” things she has had to do as mayor, but warned that the county is “not out of the woods yet.”
“I know that it’s not been easy. We’ve imposed restrictions to your lives that have made things not only very difficult for you but difficult for your families,” Breed said, adding that this has been “the most challenging time.”
“This has been pretty much the most difficult thing I have had to do, to ask the people of this city to basically stay at home and only leave your house for essential services or if you’re an essential worker or to get fresh air and exercise.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty because we see the numbers (of positive COVID-19 cases) go up every day in our city,” she said. “We also see the number of hospitalizations and they also go up, and the good news we see they have not gone up like other places because you are all doing your part to comply, but the fact is they are still going up.”
Breed said that are currently 1,424 known cases of the CCP virus in San Francisco, while 23 people have died from the disease that originated in Wuhan, China, in at least December last year.
A further 85 people have been hospitalised, Breed said.