First detected in the U.S. in January 2020, COVID-19 quickly spread across the nation. In early March 2020, COVID-19 was declared a national emergency and Stanislaus County began to feel the impacts of the virus on our community. Here is an overview of our local response.
The early months of 2020 included rapidly changing information from both federal and state government agencies. Stanislaus County Leadership worked diligently to understand this virus, broadly believed to pose a grave threat to human lives around the world. However, not much else was known other than its origin and the potential devastation it could cause. By early March, the Stanislaus County Office of Emergency Services had activated the Emergency Operations Center and established an Incident Command structure. Shortly thereafter, Stanislaus County saw its first two COVID-19 cases on March 11, 2020 and the County Public Health Officer declared a local health emergency on the same day in order to protect our residents.
As cases continued to mount, the Governor of California proclaimed a State of Emergency on March 19, 2020 and issued a statewide Stay at Home Order. This action supported the County of Stanislaus and other jurisdictions to take extreme mitigation measures toward preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Many businesses closed or modified their operations to maintain the safety of the public and employees. Students were sent home to continue their education via distance learning. Across the community and the nation, people struggled to prepare for what was to come and guard against the negative impacts of COVID-19.
Despite Stanislaus County's initial measures to prepare for and prevent the spread of the virus, COVID-19 cases continued to increase across the state and locally throughout the duration of the incident period. While the pandemic response efforts are ongoing, the County's strategy and the lessons learned offer an opportunity to enhance future preparedness efforts which will serve as a local standard, and act as a best-practice response model going forward.
The COVID-19 pandemic in Stanislaus County has been exceptional in its scale, and the County's response has been all consuming. The unprecedented nature of the pandemic meant the County was challenged to design and implement new approaches to thwart the spread of the disease and protect our community without the benefit of prior experience or use of traditional pandemic response plans. The County's response focused our best resources and our most concentrated efforts on protecting residents through a multifaceted approach which included a reliance on local partnerships, active engagement with the community through public information channels and innovative mitigation strategies tested for the first time.
Stanislaus County recorded its first death on April 10, 2020. Since that day over 1,000 Stanislaus County residents have perished as a result of COVID-19 and over 53,000 residents have tested positive.
Stanislaus County's emergency operations team has worked diligently to balance the health and safety of the community with the need for people to work and for local businesses to remain viable. Throughout the past year, the County has worked tirelessly adapting to changes in incident priorities, state public health restrictions, local response needs and mitigation strategies to detect and control the spread of the virus in the community.
This report details the most significant impacts of COVID-19 and the County's response to the public health pandemic in Year One. Click here for report.