Online Meetings, Parks and COVID-19

Dear Palo Altans,

I am offering online/phone office hours

Chats with Lydia (via Zoom) 
1st and 3rd Tuesdays 

11:30am - 1:30pm

Please register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. If you have trouble registering, please email [email protected]

Today is the 14th day since the Bay Area-wide shelter-in-place order went into effect, and the 11th day since the State-wide executive order for the same.

The City has had to make many difficult decisions since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, and this week, the decisions do not get any easier we came to the decision to close the parking lots of the open space preserves. At this time, Palo Alto parks and open spaces are still open. Please, please comply with the 6-foot physical/social distancing and avoid group gatherings. FYI, San Mateo County has closed all its 23 parks and MidPen Open Space has closed Windy Hill Open Space Preserve.  


Santa Clara County Public Health officials have stated that at this time, the spread of this virus is mostly through community transmission and it is critical that we, each and every one of us, do everything we can to slow down the spread of this disease. Otherwise, all of the shelter in place we’ve been doing will be in vain; all the closures of businesses and the loss the owners and their workers have suffered will be in vain, all the schooling the students are missing out on will be in vain, all the medical staff, all the grocery clerks and workers, all the delivery persons, all the mail persons, all the first responders, all the utilities workers, all the sanitation workers … all the sacrifices and efforts of those continuing to work at the front lines ensuring our well being will be in vain.

California confirmed positive cases by breakdown of age groups

  • Age 0-17: 54 cases
  • Age 18-49: 2,368 cases
  • Age 50-64: 1,184 cases
  • Age 65+: 1,016 cases
  • Unknown: 21 cases


The County of Santa Clara Public Health Department has similar information on their newly launched COVID-19 dashboard​ which also provides additional data that describes the confirmed cases.


From Santa Clara County Public Health about Testing

As expected, we are seeing the numbers rise as more testing becomes available. We are also hearing from you that you are still getting a lot of questions from your constituents about testing.

One frequent question is whether someone who is asymptomatic should get tested since more community options are coming online. For now, the answer to that is emphatically no. Testing availability is still far more limited than we would like, so we need to keep tests available for those in need.

Furthermore, a negative test for an asymptomatic person can cause a false sense of reassurance. That misplaced optimism could encourage a healthy person to become lax in their social distancing efforts, which is still the best tool we have to reduce transmission.

We are also often asked why the Public Health Department is not reporting the location of people who test positive. Our current data indicate that the virus is widespread in the county and, therefore, everyone in the county has a risk of exposure to the virus regardless of where exactly they live. Providing information on individual cases does not provide any real benefit to the public and may instead mislead those not living in a neighborhood with many confirmed cases to falsely think that they are at lower risk. However, yesterday’s public health order requiring laboratories who are running COVID-19 tests to report both positive and negative results, along with other key information, will help us better understand whether there are areas of the community that are experiencing more intense transmission.

My friend Ingrid shared this poem with me --

When this is over,

May we never again take for granted

Conversations with real people 

Having coffee with a friend

The school rush each morning 

Watching a sports event at a packed stadium 

A hug with a good friend 

Unlimited toilet paper at Costco 

The taste of communion

Sit down meals at La Comida 

Travel to a foreign country 

A boring Monday

Good health of all loved ones

Life itself.

When this ends,

May we find we have become a person that we hoped to be and may we stay like that.

And being better to each other because of this.

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