SAN MATEO COUNTY (CBS SF) – Amid concerns that San Mateo County could soon end up on the state’s COVID-19 watch list, the county’s health officer called out gatherings for contributing to higher transmission of the coronavirus.
Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow said in a statement that many of the infections are related to fairly small gatherings of family and friends.
“Birthday parties, picnics, eating at restaurants with mixed households, etc, without the basic precautions being taken. Most of these gatherings are innocent, no doubt, not intending to spread the virus, but they do spread it, and with far reaching implications,” he said.
“Please note, your seemingly innocuous get togethers are driving the spread and are a major reason why you can’t go to a restaurant, why you can’t go to the gym, why you can’t go get your hair cut, why kids can’t go to school. Until, or unless more people get this fact, we will continue to be stuck in the situation we are in,” the health officer went on to say.
As of Tuesday morning, San Mateo County is the only county in the Bay Area that is not on the state’s watch list. But according to the Health Department’s website, 110 new coronavirus cases were reported in San Mateo County on Monday, bringing the total of cases since the pandemic began to 4,674.
Seventy-four people with COVID-19 are in the hospital as of Monday, with 17 in the ICU. At least 114 people have died in the county from COVID-19.
Morrow’s comments echo concerns by County Supervisor David Canepa, who feared San Mateo would end up on the watch list in the coming days, leading to some businesses being forced to close again.
“We could be in this watch list forever so if we don’t change our behaviors and if we don’t change our actions we could be in this forever,” Canepa told KPIX 5 on Monday. “We really need people to wear their damn mask. Make no mistake about it, if we do not take action right now, the consequences are going to be catastrophic.”
Morrow urged residents not to gather outside of immediate households, to use face coverings extensively and to practice social distancing.
“I know this is hard, we’re all exhausted and frustrated by having to take precautions, but the implication of this fact is that you can’t let your guard down, or be careless, even once, especially if you are at high risk,” he said.