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Local COVID cases and deaths are surging, while Marin further loosens restrictions every 2 weeks. Officials are no longer prioritizing these public health metrics to gate the speed of reopening. Sounding the alarm and questioning the policy, I sent on June 4 the two emails below to county supervisors/administrator and public health chief Dr. Matthew Willis.
TO MARIN COUNTY SUPERVISORS AND ADMINISTRATOR
Please read the letter below to Dr. Willis and please please read the linked article.
We have a fine Marin public health department. It is YOUR job to help set the balance of priorities between health/safety of our population and local economy. If you closely follow the metrics of COVID like I do, you will readily see that Marin's trajectory is much worse than the state at large and clearly deteriorating;* This is NOT just b/c of more testing (as demonstrated by the fact that lots of other CA counties have picked up the testing rate and have not had local case counts and deaths rise as fast as ours).
Marin is now at a crossroads. The next steps of loosening entail a lot more public health risk. That would be a reasonable thing to do were we in a good position now vis a vis control of the amount of COVID in the community. We are not in that good spot at all.
It takes up to a month to see how many extra people get sick or die as a result of loosened restrictions implemented today. Wouldn't it be prudent to wait a month and see the impact of the latest steps "forward?"
The only current metric mentioned by Dr. Willis on June 2 for imposing stricter restrictions is Marin having enough hospital capacity to handle all the people who will get sick and risk dying. Do we have to wait for 40+ Marin residents to be in county hospitals all at once before we reconsider? That is a scary high bar, particularly given how many Marinites choose San Francisco hospitals instead when faced with life threatening illnesses.
Thank you for giving proper attention to this urgent matter.
*Author’s note:California’s target for counties to reopen is to get the latest 14 day new cases per 100,000 residents below 25. In the past month Marin has skyrocketed from 26.7 to 88.5.This is NOT simply a result of more testing. It is the WORST among the metropolitan Bay Area counties, all of which are aggressively testing.
TO: MARIN COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH CHIEF
I am writing an impassioned plea: PLEASE slow down on the loosening of COVID-19 shelter in place restrictions. The County is now well ahead of what citizens are comfortable with. I am highly confident that a local Marin poll would confirm the sentiment measured in a just-released statewide poll.
Marin citizens depend on you to protect our health and safety; your department should direct local businesses to fit into constraints that are consistent with that priority (rather than the other way around).
At the June 2 Board of Supervisors' meeting, I expressed concern that June 1 LA Times daily tracking data showed Marin as "failing" on per capita 14 day positive cases AND California was one of a very small handful of states with rising hospitalizations. The latter was quickly rectified by 3 deaths in 2 days. Sadly, we now have even more excess hospital capacity. Protecting hospital capacity should not be the main gating criterion for moving ahead to next phases of reopening.
Given public opposition to loosening restrictions, coupled with worsening impact of COVID-19 on Marin citizens, please pause the planned next steps of loosening of restrictions.
Job one is to protect public health.