‘We have made a safe landing’: 1st to order COVID-19 lockdown, Santa Clara’s Dr. Sara Cody reflects on pandemic
Fifteen months ago, Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County Public Health Director, Bay Area ordering emergency shelter – the first of its kind in the country.
“We believe these actions are necessary to protect the well-being of our community during one of the most historic public health challenges of our time,” said Dr. Cody on March 31, 2020.
On Tuesday, Dr. Cody of the first few months of the pandemic.
“We had to move extremely fast and we had to be front and center,” which Cody said was an unusual position for a county health officer.
On January 31, 2020, Santa Clara County reported the first coronavirus case in the Bay Area. Months later, Cody announced that first COVID-19 death in the US, which happened in February 2020, was also in Santa Clara County.
“In a way, I wasn’t surprised at all. In fact, I expected that we would probably see some of the first cases, ”she said.
That’s because Cody, an epidemiologist, was working at the Santa Clara County’s Health Department during the 2003 SARS outbreak and knew that travel patterns from Asia to the South Bay would bring the coronavirus to the region.
On March 16, 2020, she set the pace for the pandemic response in the Bay Area and beyond by ordering a shelter.
Kate Larsen: “How did it feel to be the person making that decision?”
Dr. Sara Cody: “Well, I have a pretty calm temper, that was helpful. And I’ve never flown an airplane, but I think of it a bit like a pilot feels when an engine fails or there’s a lot of trouble . and you have to do your best. You have to make decisions quickly and you have to make them carefully and you have to land the plane safely and I think I was kind of in that mode. “
When asked how she concluded that a lockdown was the best course, Cody said it was a quick and measured decision.
“When I thought about it with my health colleagues, we understood that if we waited a few days we would have the same social and economic harm and nowhere near the benefit,” she said. “In other words, when we make the decision to act, we should just do it as soon as possible.”
Kate Larsen: “Dr. Cody, as California reopened today, do you feel you have landed the plane safely?”
Dr. Sara Cody: “I do. I think it was a very, very, very bumpy landing. The inside of the plane isn’t as pristine as we’d like it to be, but I think we landed safely.”
Cody says she feels a lot safer now with the high vaccination rates in Santa Clara County, but says, “We’re not out of the woods yet.” She plans to continue her work at the Santa Clara County’s Department of Health and encourage more people to get vaccinated against COVID.
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