Santa Clara Co. on cusp of meeting its own requirements to lift indoor mask mandate

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Santa Clara is the only Bay Area county still with an indoor mask mandate. But promising data shows the county is on the cusp of meeting COVID-19 metrics and goals put forth by Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody.

At Wednesday's County Board of Supervisors meeting, she said the county's vaccination and hospitalization metrics are met.

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"The final metric, which is community transmission, what we're looking for is a 7-day moving average of 550 cases per day or less," Dr. Cody explained. "And today, you can see on the public facing dashboard, our 7-day rolling average new cases is 555."

"So, we will be meeting that metric tomorrow," she continued.

Dr. Cody previously explained the county would have to hold there for a week, before lifting the mandate. Meaning seven days could potentially be the only thing separating vaccinated residents and visitors from being without their masks indoors.

ABC7 News found mixed reaction from residents.

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"Hallelujah," resident Darryl Brown told ABC7 News. "No really. Seriously. I mean, I live downtown, work downtown, I hang out downtown."

He added, "It's about time to let us go and let us get back to normal."

Resident Nathapong Shugan said, "If there's a non-mask - oh my gosh! We're going to spike again. And the fact is we can't afford that."

Stanford infectious disease Dr. Abraar Karan said we'll have to wait and see what happens.

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"As a clinician, I can say there's still going to be a lot of patients, a lot of people who at an individual level, that risk of getting COVID is still something of concern. People that are older, people that are immunocompromised. And for those people, I would definitely, definitely encourage you to keep your high filtration mask, ideally, an N95-level mask if you have one, on for at least a few more weeks while cases continue to come down," he said.

Dr. Karan continued, "The second thing is, it could be that it doesn't go up and it continues to go down despite mitigation measures like masking being lifted. And part of that would be because we've had so much spread, that we don't have very many susceptible hosts left for an outbreak to be sustained."

He commended the county for holding out a bit longer than the rest of the Bay Area and for relying on data. He said that'll be key for whatever comes next.

"Masking and other measures should really be seen as, like a light switch that is dialed up and down as opposed to one that's turned on and off," he said.

For now, the county will wait for direction on whether it will be "dialing down."

"Our trends are very promising and I anticipate that we will meet that metric tomorrow," Dr. Cody told county supervisors. "And that we will continue to trend down."

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