Gioia: We’ve flattened the curve, but there’s more work to do

Gioia: We've flattened the curve, but there's more work to do
Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia speaks at the Richmond City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 22, 2019.

By John Gioia, Contra Costa County supervisor

Back on March 16, Contra Costa and the Bay Area were first in the nation to order a shelter-at-home. Our collective science-based efforts have slowed the spread of the virus, kept our hospitals from being overwhelmed, and saved lives. In fact, COVID-19 related hospitalizations in our county have decreased in the last two weeks from 44 to 25.

But we can’t back off yet. We must continue our efforts so we don’t lose the progress we’ve made together. Prematurely lifting restrictions can increase rates of transmission and illness, delaying getting people back to work. 

Tomorrow, the Bay Area Health Officers will issue a new shelter-at-home order keeping most current restrictions in place through May. It will, however, ease up and allow some lower-risk activities to occur. 

We will continue our proactive steps to prepare and protect. We’ve already:

  • Set up a 250-bed medical facility at the Craneway in Richmond that we hope to never need.
  • Transferred hundreds of homeless shelter residents to hotel rooms we’ve rented to prevent outbreaks.
  • Offered free drive-through testing at four sites around the County.
  • Frozen commercial and residential rents and passed far-reaching eviction protections.
  • Established a small business hotline to help access Federal/State/Local resources.
  • Provided millions of dollars to community agencies serving our most vulnerable residents.
  • Required everyone to wear face coverings in public in many settings.

The new Health Order will provide indicators to track our progress similar to those being used by Governor Newsom. Things like expanded testing and contact tracing, isolating and supporting those testing positive, hospital capacity, and protecting those most at-risk.These are necessary as we gradually re-open our communities, get people back to work, and revitalize our economy. 

We are stronger together and we will get through this!  

“Stay in place, maintain your space, cover your face!”

This piece first appeared in Supervisor Gioia’s eUpdate.