SAN MATEO (CBS SF) — As he watched confirmed cases of coronavirus mount in his county each day, a frustrated San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow lashed out Monday at those who continued to disregard the shelter-in-place order and its social distancing requirement.

On Monday, county officials said they have 25 new cases in San Mateo, lifting the current total of confirmed coronavirus cases within the county to 142. Last week, the county had just 42.

Morrow took to his blog on the health department website to pen an emotional note.

“As I write this, I am both immensely grateful and exceedingly disappointed,” he wrote. “We are in a grave crisis. I believe the virus is growing at an exponential rate in our county. Unless everyone does their part and follows the County’s Shelter-in-Place order and the Governor’s Safer at Home order, we will be facing an Italy-type catastrophe very soon.”


“These orders are not recommendations, they are rules to be followed,” he continued. “My disappointment stems from the fact that many people just aren’t taking this seriously and going about their business as if nothing has changed.”

“Our world has profoundly changed in an instant. It is now up to you all, the community, to decide what you want your future to be. If you decide you want to do your own thing and follow your own rules, you disrespect us all. You spit in our face, and you will contribute to the death toll that will follow.”

Morrow acknowledged the rules were hard to follow, especially for as social as many local residents are.

“For families in different households, do not mix your households at this time,” he wrote. “As hard as this is, do not gather in any way outside of immediate households. As for outdoor exercise, people certainly need to get out, but do this in your own immediate neighborhoods.”

Over the weekend large crowd flocked to rural and coastal Marin County to the north, clogging roads and ultimately forcing officials to shut down access to all the county’s parks and Point Reyes National Seashore.

On Monday, Santa Cruz officials to the south of San Mateo pleaded with outside residents not to travel to their beaches.

“I am grateful that many people are taking this seriously and are doing everything they can to slow the spread of this virus,” he wrote. “You are heroes for doing this.”