The health departments of six Bay Area counties issued a joint statement this week announcing they are extending shelter-in-place orders through the end of May to counter the COVID-19 pandemic.
The counties covered by the statement are: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties, as well as the City of Berkeley, which has its own public health department.
More details will be released later this week, the health officers said, and “will include limited easing of specific restrictions for a small number of lower-risk activities.”
The current shelter-in-place restrictions for the six Bay Area counties were set to expire on May 3, though California’s statewide stay-at-home order that was issued in March has no set expiration date.
“Thanks to the collective effort and sacrifice of the 7 million residents across our jurisdictions, we have made substantial progress in slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus, ensuring our local hospitals are not overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases, and saving lives,” said the health departments’ statement.
“ At this stage of the pandemic, however, it is critical that our collective efforts continue so that we do not lose the progress we have achieved together. Hospitalizations have leveled, but more work is needed to safely re-open our communities. Prematurely lifting restrictions could easily lead to a large surge in case,” the statement said.
Warning that the fight against the pandemic is far from over, the statement said that future relaxing of restrictions” requires that each jurisdiction and various sectors continue to rapidly build critical infrastructure and systems to respond to and control the spread of coronavirus infections and to ensure the health care system’s ability to meet demand.”.
“This global pandemic of COVID-19 is still in its early stages. The virus spreads easily, testing capacity is limited and expanding slowly, and vaccine development is just beginning. We expect to be responding to COVID-19 in our communities for a long time. As effective as our efforts have been, if we move too fast to ease restrictions, the potential of exponential spread could have grave impacts to the health and wellness of our residents as well as the economy”