Some Say San Mateo County Should Be Placed on State's Monitoring List

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Some city leaders and citizens groups said Thursday it's time to put San Mateo County on the state's coronavirus monitoring list.

San Mateo County and San Francisco County are the only two Bay Area counties not on the list and thus not required to close additional businesses due to a spike in cases.

"The trend is that it's getting worse and it’s accelerating," Half Moon Bay councilmember Dr. Deborah Penrose said. "So, it’s not a steady rise. It’s a very rapid rise."

How Coronavirus Has Grown in Each State — in 1 Chart

This chart shows the cumulative number of cases per state by number of days since the 50th case.

Source: The COVID Tracking Project
Credit: Amy O’Kruk/NBC

Brent Turner with the Coastside COVID Response Group said it's "preposterous" that the county isn't on the watch list.

"Obviously the virus could not be aware of county lines," he said. "So, there’s no way that our neighboring counties could be on it and we would be off it."

Powerhouse Gym in downtown Redwood City gets to stay open while the county is off the list. Nail salons, churches and malls can also stay open.

“It really is in the hands of the people of this county right now whether we stay off that watch list or go on that watch list," San Mateo County Manager Mike Callagy said.

Callagy said the public's health is the top priority, but, "we’re going to be looking at a $100 million deficit in this county because of that sales tax deficit that we’re going to see, and it's going to mean, if we go on that watch list, a lot more businesses are going to be shut down.”

Although Callagy said the county being put on the watch list could happen anytime, so far, he has not received any warning it will happen this week.

The county has launched a billboard campaign encouraging mask use to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is urging elected officials to fine people who don't cover their face, comparing masks to seat belts.

San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa says he agrees.

“I believe, like Benioff, it’s like a seat belt. If you don't wear it, you get a fine. Analogy is similar because we're saving lives,” he said. 

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