After weeks of indecision, California health officials Wednesday added San Mateo to a watchlist of counties experiencing troubling coronavirus transmission.
The state will add a county to the watchlist if they detect that coronavirus cases or hospitalizations are surging; if ICU bed and ventilator capacity are stretched too thin; or if a county isn’t completing enough testing.
If a county is on the watchlist for three days or longer, the state can order the shuttering of businesses while the county works with health officials to lower its numbers below the watchlist thresholds.
The county "will be in involved in active engagement with the state while the case rate is closely monitored" over the next three days, the county said in an update.
But it acknowledged that health officials believe the case rate will not decrease in time to prevent more business closures and disruptions. The county advised gyms, salons, malls, places of worship and other businesses to prepare to operate outside or through curbside pickup as of 12:01 a.m. Saturday morning. Schools in watchlist counties can offer remote learning only, though elementary schools can apply for a waiver from the county.
The state now wants the county to expand testing and contact tracing, find more places for those infected to isolate from their families, and prepare its hospital system for a potential surge in COVID-19 patients.
– Kevin Stark (@StarkKev)