SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KION) Santa Cruz County has announced an initiative to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic as it works to reopen the community and local economy.
The effort will be led by Margaret Lapiz, who will work with the County Health Services Agency and Community Foundation Santa Cruz County to increase COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and quarantine and isolation services. The county said the services are needed to reopen the community until a vaccine is available.
The World Health Organization said the "test, trace and treat" strategy is essential to successfully responding to the pandemic and points out Singapore, South Korea and Germany as examples.
“As we continue the hard work of flattening the curve, we must turn an eye towards large scale recovery efforts. The County is committed to easing the shelter-in-place restrictions so we can jumpstart our economy, but we must have
safeguards in place,” said Mimi Hall, director of the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency.
According to the county, Community Foundation Santa Cruz County has funding to help start the recovery plan. It will cover some costs related to reopening, such as Lapiz's position, more testing and contact tracing systems.
“Our work as a community foundation is to bring people, resources and ideas together to accelerate local solutions to our county’s most pressing problems and clearly, recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic will require our local leaders, small business owners, health care professionals, educators and the public to pull together like never before to support the County in their work to protect public health,” Community Foundation CEO Susan True said.
Lapiz is an executive vice president for the Permanente Medical Group with 25 years of experience specializing in health care operations and strategy, according to the county. She previously worked with the county and the Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust to determine the feasibility of buying Watsonville Community Hospitals. She will start meeting with business leaders and others to start creating guidance once testing, tracing and treating is underway.