See the news conference here.
UPDATE 4/30/2020 4 p.m. Santa Cruz County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel issued a revised Shelter in Place order that allows more activities, but does not have an end date.
The order is in effect until it is extended, rescinded, superseded or amended by the health officer. Newel said in a press conference Thursday, the order with be updated about every three weeks.
“Any shorter period of time for modifications doesn’t make sense, because we wouldn’t be able to see and assess any impact the changes have made,” Newel said.
The revised order, which goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Friday, expands essential business activities, includes allowances for non-essential medical and dental procedures, eliminates restrictions on limited recreational activities and allows for some group children's activities.
Residents are still required to practice social distancing and Shelter in Place except for essential travel.
“We have made great progress flattening the curve and protecting vulnerable residents and critical health care infrastructure, but we still have a long road ahead,” Newel said. “These are the first steps on a long journey, which will be guided by science and the leadership of State public health officials.”
Some business activities will be able to restart under certain conditions, and that includes landscaping and construction-related activities; nursery/gardening wholesalers and retailers; childcare, recreational and educational institutions serving children while under strict safety guidelines and golf courses.
“Most of what we’re opening up has to do with outdoor activities, because there’s a very low risk of spread,” Newel said.
Residents can also schedule preventative care with their healthcare providers. They can now offer elective surgeries, mammography, well-child visits, dental visits and other services.
Group gatherings are still banned, and Newel said gatherings of any size will likely be one the last of the last restrictions lifted.
For more details, see the full Shelter in Place order below.
PREVIOUS STORY: Santa Cruz County health officials said the county's Shelter in Place order will be extended, but some services will be allowed to reopen.
The new order is not final because the county is waiting for Governor Newsom's announcement about beach closures around the state.
County officials said at a news conference Thursday that the order will be slightly less restrictive than ones issued in the Bay Area, and modifications will happen about every three weeks.
Some of what is expected to open includes:
- Outdoor jobs, including landscaping, gardening and non-essential agriculture jobs
- Golf courses and driving ranges
- Educational and recreational activities in groups of 12 or fewer for child care purposes
- Craft and fabric stores for the production of face coverings and other PPE
- Health care for elective surgeries and preventative care at medical and dental facilities
The county said it does not expect that alternative care sites will be needed because the rate of COVID-19 case increases has been lower than expected. The care sites were expected to be at 1440 Multiversity in Scotts Valley and Simkins Swim Center.
Health officials also provided an update on an outbreak at New Leaf in Aptos. A total of 13 employees tested positive for COVID-19. The store reopened Tuesday, and all employees were screened before returning to work. They do not believe any shoppers contracted the virus, and they do not believe there are any other clusters in Santa Cruz County.
The state is opening a specimen collection site at Ramsy Park in the southern part of the county, according to health officials. It will be by appointment only, and patients will need a doctor's referral. Quest Diagnostics will be handling the tests, and results should be expected in about two days. County-wide, there are about eight testing sites.
According to the county's Health Services Agency, there are 131 confirmed cases and there have been two deaths as of Thursday morning.