A surge of coronavirus cases at the San Quentin State Prison will begin to reflect in local San Mateo County COVID-19 data as up to 50 inmates begin to receive care at Seton Medical Center in Daly City.
Louise Rogers, chief of San Mateo County Health, said during a remote Board of Supervisors meeting held Tuesday morning that 12 inmates are currently receiving care at the hospital as a result of a contract between the state and the health institution. She also said many of the patients were elderly inmates, reflecting the current demographic of individuals falling ill with the highly infectious respiratory disease.
“That is something that is going to impact the San Mateo County numbers. Many of them are not discharges to the community. Many of the people who have come so far are people who are continuing to serve their time and they are heavily guarded and there’s security attached to them,” said Rogers. “We’re going to be very closely monitoring this and of course the state has indicated that none of this will impact our local compliance with the benchmarks that we have agreed to try to achieve.”
Rogers also said county COVID-19 cases reflect similar patterns recorded within the 11 Bay Area counties which reported increases in positive cases as many communities begin the reopening process. She cited Google’s social mobility data which show countywide retail and recreation sectors have begun to experience a 12% boost in activity though remain 35% below the county baseline.
“[Mobility is] still very much below what we would see normally and the other measures are fairly similar to what they were previously except for parks but ... we’ve expected this. We expected as society loosens that people would be moving around. We’ll see a lot of that activity,” said Rogers.
Like most officials, she stressed the importance of the public taking safety measures to prevent the spreading of the virus such as wearing facemasks, washing hands and honoring the 6 feet of distance rule. She added that data shows low-income earners continue to be the hardest hit by the pandemic for occupying “front-line positions” and struggling to avoid exposure.
San Mateo County currently has 3,232 COVID-19 positive cases, up from 3,141, and 108 deaths, up from 106. Of those deaths, 68 are over the age of 80 and 73 are from long-term care facilities. Hospitalizations are slightly up at 32, with 11 in the ICU, according to County Health data.
Following her presentation, the board moved to approve a series of measures including two items extending contracts with and providing grants through Measure K funding to the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo. The organization provides legal assistance to low-income clients. A total of $1,082,389 new funding will be granted to the agency to provide legal services to immigrant residents applying for citizenship, seeking deportation defense and other services.
Supervisors also approved a resolution calling for employers to offer eligible San Mateo County based employees the option to telecommute to work, protecting and advancing environmental air quality while also easing traffic congestion in the area. The resolution followed improvements observed after the mid-March sheltering order encouraged residents to remain home and off roads.