Might Menlo Park and surrounding communities enter “Orange” Tier 2 next week?
It was a year ago today, March 11, 2020, that the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, and it was a week later on March 17 that the San Mateo County Health Officer directed individuals living in the county to shelter at their place of residence through—we’re guessing many don’t recall the initial time period— April 7, 2020, “or until it is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing by the Health Officer.”
So, here we are a year later with rounds of subsequent stay-at-home orders only to learn in an announcement today that the county is on track to move to the “Orange” Tier 2 as soon as—you guessed it—Wednesday, March 17, 2021, allowing further re-openings of shopping centers and retail stores, places of worship, restaurants, gyms and other indoor operations under the state’s four-tier, color-coded Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
This comes at a time when some experts warn of another possible surge ahead [subscription may be required to read.]
The county also announced that vaccine eligibility will expand on March 15 to include individuals with certain medical conditions, outlined in the State’s Feb. 12, 2021 guidance to providers, will become eligible to receive the vaccine.
As vaccine supply allows, many residents will have pathways through the large health care provider systems (Kaiser, Sutter, Dignity, AHMC-Seton). For those who are found eligible by their health care provider who do not have a vaccination pathway, the County will continue to arrange pathways and partner with local providers such as pharmacies and safety net clinics.
“We are awaiting any further State guidance on the documentation that could make eligibility easier to confirm at the local level and/or any aspects that will be standardized as appointments are offered through the State’s My Turn platform,” said Anand Chabra, MD, COVID-19 Vaccination Branch Chief.
To move through tiers, the state looks at several metrics: the number of people being tested as a share of a county’s overall population and positivity and case rates. A county also needs to meet an equity metric in less advantaged neighborhoods.
You can do your part by getting tested: Safe, easy and no-cost testing is widely available at cCounty-sponsored locations for everyone who lives or works in San Mateo County regardless of symptoms.