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Santa Clara County extends declaration of local health emergency

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SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – Despite the still-unfolding saga of the Grand Princess, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the Bay Area would be Santa Clara County.

On the heels of a ban on large gatherings of people, the county has extended its declaration of a local health emergency.

The Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday unanimously to extend the emergency declaration until April 9.

With the number of people infected with the virus up to 45, the health department says it is all hands on deck going forward.

“How big a deal is this really and how serious is it,” Supervisor Joe Simitaian said. 

The answer to those and other questions posed by the Board of Supervisors begins with slowing the spread of the coronavirus and staying calm, says the county’s public health officer, Dr. Sara Cody.

“It’s incredibly important that we stay calm and we stay unified and minimize the chaos as much as possible,” Cody said. 

The county has ordered a three-week ban on social gatherings with more than

1,000 people. 

A ban that will impact both the San Jose Sharks and Earthquakes.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo weighed in, calling for more testing while pushing for a moratorium on the eviction of renters impacted by coronavirus.

“Today there are several hundred of people who are staying home and unable to earn a paycheck and that number may grow to thousands in the days and weeks ahead and we need to do everything we can to keep people in their homes,” Liccardo said.

Supervisor Dave Corteze voiced concerns about outreach for the homeless and others most susceptible to coronavirus.

“Part of the problem here are the unintended consequences of a young, health person carrying the virus may be that somebody who has undergone chemotherapy or someone who is aged contracts it and can’t withstand it,” Corteze said. 

Supervisors were told that of 45 people diagnosed with coronavirus, at least 21 have no travel history or known contact with an infected person.

“So what that indicates is a significant level of community transmission but again we do not have the surveillance tools in place to clearly define but we had enough information to spur us to take much more aggressive action and that is why last night I announced the ban on gatherings with more than a thousand,” Cody said.

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