It’s clear that COVID-19 cases are on the rise throughout the state and the nation – we are seeing a surge as a result of gatherings, particularly during Thanksgiving.
The good news is that COVID vaccines are beginning to arrive here in San Mateo County. We have been allotted 5,850 of the Pfizer vaccine and expect to receive up to six times that amount of both Pfizer and Moderna doses by the end of December. Essential workers who help those fighting COVID-19, such as our healthcare workers and those who work in or are patients of nursing homes, will receive the first vaccines. Most of us will not be in this first group, and will receive our vaccines next spring or summer.
To counter the surge in cases now, Governor Newsom has issued a new order that divides the state into 5 regions, and when a region reaches ICU capacity of 15% or lower, that region is placed in new lockdown orders. The Bay Area region has just entered into this new stay-at-home order with our ICU regional capacity hitting 12.9%. The order will take effect at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, December 17 and stay in place for at least 3 weeks until January 8, 2021.
In short – this means we are required to stay at home except for essential activities, close operations for certain business sectors and require 100% masking and physical distancing. Restaurants will only be open for take-out and delivery, hair salons and barber shops will close, retail will be limited to 20% capacity, and schools who’s reopening plans have already been approved can remain open but schools who have not been approved cannot reopen to in-person instruction. Essential activities still include going to the doctor, buying groceries, picking up take out, going on a hike, or worshiping outdoors.