Erasing the Progress We’ve Achieved

Posted: July 1, 2020

By B. Konard Jones

When California, and our community in particular, began to relax COVID-19 prevention measures by reopening businesses in which people come into close contact with each other and abandoning stay-at-home orders, a rise in infections was expected.

But what we have experienced is startling. And it’s disturbing that we are erasing the headway we’ve worked so hard to accomplish.

Gov. Gavin Newsom added Solano County to a “watch list” of regions experiencing a disconcerting spike in new cases and hospitalizations. On Wednesday came the order for all bars and brewpubs to close and restaurants to no longer offer indoor dining.

In our hospitals this week we reached a new high in the number of COVID-19 patients needing acute and intensive care. Other local health facilities report similar circumstances.

We have ample capacity to treat COVID-19 patients and ample personal protective equipment. We will continue other medically necessary care, like vital cancer screenings, life-saving vaccinations, chronic disease treatment, surgeries, interventional procedures and emergency services.

But full hospitals put a burden on an already overstrained workforce.

Now we head into another holiday during which it’s likely social distancing will be ignored by the many who feel they are invincible. Some still do not understand that regardless of their age and no matter how healthy they are, they are a link in the chain of the spread of the virus.

It is inconceivable that some believe wearing a mask is a political statement, not an act of kindness or respect for others — not to mention a way to prevent the spread of a deadly virus. It’s indisputable science.

The virus isn’t taking a holiday.

So one more time: Wear your mask, wash your hands frequently, practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings. It will save lives.

Solano County Public Health leadership reports a sizeable increase in the number of cases due to large gatherings of family and friends not adhering to the guidelines.

Cases occurring in younger age groups are on the rise in Solano County. There is understandably a strong desire for kids to have play dates, birthdays to be celebrated and Fourth of July barbecues to be held. But how have some people developed amnesia, forgetting what it was like a few months ago and now letting their guard down?

There seems to be a lack of support for health care experts – and for those on the front lines – by people who flout the statewide order to wear a mask in public and those who gather in a high-risk concentration of would-be virus spreaders.

Everyone should be celebrating the birth of our nation this weekend. It just has to be different this year. Safe and sane should not apply only to fireworks.

The author is president and CEO of NorthBay Healthcare.

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