Written by Natasha Gunion (News Writer)
As of October 14, 2020, Covid-19 cases in Santa Cruz County are beginning to rise again. There have been 2,633 known Covid-19 cases in the County since the onset of the pandemic. There are currently 207 active cases, and 23 deaths. Most businesses in SC County are still following the restrictions of allowing a few customers at a time to be in the store, the 6 foot distancing rule, masks required inside, and hand sanitizer at the door. Most local stores are still open, and very few are completely closed for the time being.
Being that, most who live in Santa Cruz are used to all of the rules and regulations, the spread of COVID-19 has not been as extreme as in other counties in the state of California. However, the County has been occasionally shutting down access to the beaches to help stop the spread. The regulations for the beaches are, all people out of the water must wear a mask, and be sure to keep a 6 foot distance from each other. Hair salons, restaurants, and churches are starting to re-open. Child care services, pet grooming services and more are still closed for the time being. Now that most of us have our daily routine down, staying safe and looking out for each other. Saybrook Whalen, my cousin in San Francisco, shared how she is staying safe and away from the virus in these times, “I have gotten into the hang of staying quarantined, but when I am out in public, I make sure to distance myself from others, and wear a mask at all times.” Now that we are all learning to live this lifestyle, slowly this can help our county reduce the amount of Covid cases.
Most personal businesses, stores, and outdoor locations will be opening in the future once COVID-19 cases start to lower in the county. The October spike of new Covid-19 cases seems to be increasing as businesses reopen, and people gather together, without careful social distancing at political rallies and other places. As reported in The New York Times, the daily average of new COVID-19 cases in the United States this past week topped 54,000, which is a 25 percent increase from the average from 2 weeks ago. This includes the 65,327 cases reported on Thursday October 15th, and the 59,751 new cases reported on Wednesday.
In addition, 21 states this week reached their highest 7-day averages for new cases since the pandemic began. It is difficult to know the exact reasons why this is happening at this time, possibly because people are getting too relaxed with their views on the reality of this situation, and letting their guard down. The NY Times also states that the higher numbers are being driven by increases in the Covid in parts of the Upper Midwest, and Rocky Mountain regions.
Last week, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that small gatherings, not observing social distancing guidelines are becoming a major source of the Covid-19 spread. Sadly, the United States now has more than 8 million confirmed Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began last March. Covid-19 related deaths have now topped 217,000.
In Santa Cruz County, the numbers are significantly more encouraging. Although in anticipation of people wanting to gather for the upcoming holiday season, the California Department of Public Health services issued new guidance on private gatherings during this pandemic. The state guidelines allow people no more than three households to gather together. The state says the host of these gatherings should collect names of all who attend, in case the list is needed for contact tracing and if anyone from the gathering tests positive for Covid-19.
With the presidential election only a few weeks away, it dosen’t seem likely that careful consideration in regards to social distancing will be much of a focus. We can only hope that the new administration will get this virus under control by doing what should’ve been done more than half a year ago.