Reopening California: Santa Clara County the only Bay Area county not entering Phase 2 by next week

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- By next week, nearly all Bay Area counties are expected to be in Phase 2 of Gov. Gavin Newsom's plan to reopen California. However, Santa Clara County will remain as the lone holdout as it takes a slower approach.

Dr. Dean Winslow, an infectious disease expert at Stanford University, praised Santa Clara County officials for their work and says their decision makes sense given some of the unique characteristics that make up the Bay Area's most populous county.

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"You have East San Jose which is much more densely packed," said Winslow. "You have a lot more multi-generational families in housing and in much closer quarters."

The pandemic has disproportionately sickened and caused deaths among communities of color, particularly among Latinos.

Santa Clara County health officer Dr. Sara Cody says the only tool at the moment to protect the vulnerable is to bring down community transmission across the board.

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"We don't suddenly have herd immunity, we don't suddenly have a vaccine. We have exactly the same conditions we had in March," said Cody in remarks delivered on Tuesday to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. "If we did ease up, we'd see a brisk return of cases, hospitalizations and a brisk return of deaths, to be quite blunt."

The first stage of phase two allows non-essential services such as curbside retail and office-based businesses, among others, to re-open, unless more restrictive local orders are in effect.

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"As counties open up, we will see that people are making decisions based on their own assessment of what their personal risk is," said Dr. Colleen Haight, chair of the economics department at San Jose State University. "If they feel it's safe to go out, it doesn't matter whether your county is closed or not, if you can go to the next county, those people will do that travel."

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