Editor’s note: Earlier this week, San Mateo County Health Officer Scott Morrow issued a new health statement. Here it is.

I haven’t updated this statement in a while because there hasn’t been much change to what I have already stated. We are in a general steady state of infection as we have been for about three months. Hospitals have plenty of capacity. Deaths are low. Infection is mainly occurring in the groups that I mentioned before (July 20th Statement). I feel the same way about schools now as I did in June (June 15th Statement).  And please remember, the state is putting restrictions on businesses. I am not.

A slightly new twist for us is the state replaced the “watchlist” system implemented in July with a new tiering system called the Blueprint for a Safer Economy put into place a few weeks ago.  We are bound by the state’s new system.  You can find details here:

While it does have some interesting elements, I believe it remains partially flawed because it doesn’t look at the context of what’s going on in a locality and only looks at the county’s case rate and the positivity rate. These data only tell part of the story. And while the nexus between these rates and the business and organizational closures required is a bit less tenuous than before, it still doesn’t get at the fundamental issues causing continuing infections – mainly structural failures in the economy and careless gatherings, without appropriate precautions, of people outside a single household.

One thing the new system does do is to reward more testing by reducing our case rate in proportion if we do more testing than the state average. We are also penalized if we do less testing than the state average. We recognize this and will be working to increase testing over the next few weeks.

Vaccines: It is critically important for everyone age six months and older to get the flu vaccine this year. Flu vaccine is widely available now. Please don’t delay in getting your flu shot. While we have begun planning on receiving a coronavirus vaccine before the end of the year, the information coming out from the federal government is very confused and contradictory. I have no additional information than that being reported in the media.

This remains far from over. To get out of this situation depends on all of us. Our collective best course of action: No gatherings outside of immediate households, use facial coverings extensively, and social distancing.

Banner at Ford Field by Linda Hubbard (c) 2020

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San Mateo County moves to red tier allowing for more indoor businesses and restaurants to open

Effective today, the county of San Mateo moves to the second stage (red) of the state’s four-tiered, color-coded reopening system, allowing indoor dining, nail salon, gyms and places of worship to open with limits. Still, the county’s new risk level is considered “substantial” under the state’s monitoring system, and officials caution that businesses and individuals […]

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Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition offers bike maintenance tips for cyclists

In a recent Weekly Wheeler newsletter, the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition offered these maintenance tips for cyclists: Since the coronavirus pandemic took hold in March, a bicycling boom has been evident across the country. Local bike shops are reporting huge increases in bike sales and maintenance requests to service bikes. If you’re in need of […]

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County parks reopen but San Mateo County Health Officer says vigilance required this holiday weekend

San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow reminds San Mateo County residents that activities typically associated with holidays require caution and planning with a focus on keeping loved ones safe and continuing to bring down COVID-19 case numbers. “As we approach the [Labor Day] weekend, I can’t stress enough the need for social distancing, […]

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Chart shows risk of contracting COVID-19 from various activities

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Pandemic: A poem by Lynn Unger

What if you thought of it as the Jews consider the Sabbath— the most sacred of times? Cease from travel. Cease from buying and selling. Give up, just for now, on trying to make the world different than it is. Sing. Pray. Touch only those to whom you commit your life. Center down. And when […]

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Your local hair salon or barbershop can open indoors starting Monday, August 31

Beginning Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, hair salons and barbershops will be allowed to operate indoors in San Mateo County under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new color-coded reopening system which ranks counties based on COVID-19 case counts and positivity rate. San Mateo County, which the state cites as having 8.6 new positive cases per 100,000 residents and […]

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Menlo Pilates & More is closing

Fran Philips emailed us that she is closing Menlo Pilates & More. “Gyms and fFitness centers cannot open to indoor activities,” she wrote. “You can however do sessions outside, however my building does not have facilities to do this. So with a heavy heart I wanted to let you know the news.” When the shelter-in-place order […]

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Spotted: Mask reminder banner at Ford Field

Where do you wear a mask? Everywhere you go, according to the County of San Mateo. • In all public indoor spaces • At doctor and all other healthcare offices • On public transportation • In shared spaces at work • Outdoors when you can’t be 6 feet apart from others Don’t forget your mask! Get […]

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SLAC scientists invent low-cost emergency ventilator and share the design for free

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park have invented an emergency ventilator that could help save the lives of patients suffering from COVID-19, the disease caused by novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Using standard parts that cost less than $400, the ventilator could be an affordable option when more sophisticated technology […]

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Representative Eshoo will hold tele-town hall meeting on August 13

On Thursday, August 13,  Representative Anna Eshoo will be holding a tele-town hall meeting to update constituents on how Congress is responding to the COVID-19 crisis and answer as many questions as possible. Dr. David Relman of Stanford University will join her. The town hall will take place from 3:55 to 4:55 pm PDT. To Participate: […]

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