Response Escalates as Coronavirus Continues Spread

Sheila Teker, Staff Writer

The Contra Costa County Board of Health issued a shelter-in-place order, effective from March 17 through April 7, in response to the rapidly expanding Coronavirus outbreak.

The intent of the order is to “flatten the curve” as the number of those who have contracted the virus continues to clumb and threatens to overwhelm regional emergency health services.

According to the Contra Costa Community Warning System (CWS), the alert was issued because “the Bay Area’s collected confirmed cases is more than half of California’s case count. This does not account for the rapidly increasing number of assumed cases of community transmission. As testing capacity increases, the number of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases is expected to increase markedly.”

In an alert sent by the Contra Costa CWS, Dr. Erica Pan explained that restricting close contact “is a proven strategy” to decrease the rate of viral spread, and is effective in protecting those most vulnerable to it.

More locally, the Moraga Health Department issued a statement on March 17, in order to provide a greater sense of urgency and caution: “The Contra Costa County Health Department reports that as of today, 39 people have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.  This is an increase of 5 people, or 14.7%, since yesterday.”

In response to the recent school closure and county-wide shelter-in-place order, sophomore Alyssa Craigie said, “It is a good idea – although it seems a little extreme, we have to flatten the infection curve and make sure the virus cannot spread as much, which means limited contact.”

While the order has drastically disrupted the lives of Campolindo students who are accustomed to rigorous school days and a full slate of extra-curricular activities, Junior Leila Stoll said that it was crucial “to take whatever measures necessary to slow the spread of the disease because ultimately that will be the best for the world as a whole.” She explained that since there is “a lot of uncertainty around the disease,” it is “best to play it safe and take preventative measures if experts think that is the right thing to do.”

According to Contra Costa Health Services, people are only allowed to leave their homes for “essential needs.” These include going to grocery stores, pharmacies, government services, banks, and the like. Online shopping is still available, and the use of public transportation is open, but not encouraged.

The Los Angeles Times reported that those who did not abide by the shelter-in-place would be charged with a misdemeanor.