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Santa Clara County health officials say shelter in place order is helping to flatten the curve


SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – In Santa Clara County, health officials credit social distancing for helping to flatten the curve of infections.

Also, the county’s mid-March shelter-in-place order is being credited with preventing hospitals from being overwhelmed.

At Tuesday’s virtual Board of Supervisors meeting, Santa Clara County Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody cited research that shows what might have happened if the public were not abiding by the order the county issued on March 16 calling on people practice physical distancing.

“The model suggests that had we not done anything, our case count would be somewhere in the 50,000 range but with what we have in place we anticipate that our case count by May 1st will be somewhere between 2,500 and 12,000,” Dr. Cody said.

Dr. Cody emphasized the models are only estimates but the research suggests the shelter-in-place order has not only prevented deaths but prevented hospitalizations and bought crucial time for hospitals to prepare.

“If you focus on the blue line at the bottom, that’s the projected hospital bed use. And the take home here is that even if you project out to the end of May, you see that it might cross the grey line but it’s not crossing the black line and that is a very positive sign that is the result of every person in our county doing their best to comply with shelter in place,” Dr. Cody said. 

Supervisors were told that the county still lacks adequate testing and that robust contact tracing must continue to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

Uncertainty abounds, says Dr. Cody, but physical distancing, staying home, is working.

“The take home is the trend is exactly what we want to see, we’re lengthening the doubling time, we are slowing this down and this we have been able to do because our community has come together and is reducing contact with each other to the greatest extent possible,” Dr. Cody said.

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