BAY AREA, CA — The stay-at-home order for seven Bay Area jurisdictions has been extended by public health officers through May 3, the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara, as well as the city of Berkeley, said in joint statement Tuesday.
The initial order was for three weeks and was set to expire April 7, but the public health officers have determined that more and stricter social distancing is needed to slow the rate of spread of the new coronavirus, prevent COVID-19 deaths, and stop the healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed, according to the statement.
"While the prior order was effective in reducing the rate of transmission of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), it was not enough," they said.
Citing "a significant increase in the number of positive cases, hospitalization and deaths from COVID-19, which is beginning to strain healthcare resources," authorities with the Bay Area governments said the new stay-at-home order supersedes the previous order and goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.
"Extending the stay-at-home order should reduce the number of sick patients seeking care at one time, giving us time to acquire more medical supplies for providers who will be providing care to people sick with COVID-19," Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano said. "The extension will allow doctors and nurses to better treat those who do get sick, and save countless lives."
Like the previous local order, the new order requires people to stay at home except for doing essential activities, such as grocery shopping, in the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara, as well as the city of Berkeley.
Non-essential businesses remain closed.
Officials added some "clarifying language around essential business and activities, as well as some new directives," including:
Use of playgrounds, dog parks, public picnic areas, and similar recreational areas is prohibited. These areas must be closed to public use.
Use of shared public recreational facilities such as golf courses, tennis and basketball courts, pools, and rock walls is prohibited. These facilities must be closed for recreational use.
Sports requiring people to share a ball or other equipment must be limited to people in the same household
Requires essential businesses to develop a social distancing protocol before April 3
Most construction—residential and commercial—is prohibited
Funerals limited to no more than 10 people attending
Essential businesses expanded to include service providers that enable residential transactions (notaries, title companies, Realtors, etc.); funeral homes and cemeteries; moving companies, rental car companies and rideshare services that specifically enable essential activities
Essential businesses that continue to operate facilities must scale down operations to their essential component only
As for social distancing, the Bay Area government officials said it is "the most powerful tool to slow the spread of COVID-19, a virus so new that it has no approved medicines or vaccines."
"What we need now, for the health of all our communities, is for people to stay home," San Francisco Department of Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said.
"Even though it has been difficult, the Bay Area has really stepped up to the challenge so far, and we need to reaffirm our commitment," Colfax said. "We need more time to flatten the curve, to prepare our hospitals for a surge, and to do everything we can to minimize the harm that the virus causes to our communities."
The Bay Area health officials said the regional order is a complement to the statewide order issued mid-March.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday afternoon that revisions to the statewide stay-at-home order are coming within 24 hours.
According to Newsom, there have been 150 coronavirus deaths statewide. There are currently 6,932 people in California who've tested positive for coronavirus, 1,617 hospitalized for COVID-19, and 657 people in intensive care units.
As of Tuesday at 9:30 a.m., officials confirmed the following number of cases in the greater Bay Area region:
Alameda County: 283 cases, 7 deaths (270 cases, 7 deaths at last check Monday)
Contra Costa County: 187 cases, 3 deaths (175 cases, 3 deaths as of Monday)
Marin County: 98 cases, 4 deaths (93 cases, 1 death on Monday)
Monterey County: 36 cases, 1 death (36 cases, 1 death on Sunday)
Napa County: 15 cases (14 on Monday)
San Francisco County: 397 cases, 6 deaths (374 cases, 6 deaths on Monday)
San Mateo County: 309 cases, 10 deaths (309 cases, 6 deaths as of Monday)
Santa Clara County: 848 cases, 28 deaths (646 cases, 25 deaths as of Monday)
Santa Cruz County: 45 cases, 1 death (44 cases, 1 death on Monday)
Solano County: 43 cases (34 on Monday)
Sonoma County: 73 cases, 1 death (58 cases, 1 death on Monday)
The three counties not included in the Bay Area regional stay-at-home order, Napa, Solano and Sonoma, enacted similar orders mid-March and are now tasked with deciding whether to extend theirs.
"Napa County is reviewing the 6-county order and will be considering our own order this week," Napa County Deputy Executive Officer Molly Rattigan told Patch. "More details will be released upon further review and discussion."