Commentary: We Are Where We Are Because…

by Tia Will

On 12/10/20 I attended the Yolo County Health Council. What follows are the major points made as I saw them followed by my observations about our current situation. As I write this, we are almost 4 hours from the official imposition of California’s new COVID-19 stay at home order. I have not included the details of the order since they are widely available on line and on the county’s dashboard.

The meeting began with a concise presentation by our Yolo County Health Officer Aimee Bisson who provided the following updates:

  1. As of this morning, there were zero ICU beds available in Yolo County.

Some county health systems are reporting a 15-20% shortage of workers.

  1. The recommended time for self-quarantine has been reduced from 14 days to 10 days for the general population but 24 days for those in skilled nursing facilities.
  2. Yolo County has been approved for an additional testing site.
  3. An ultra- low temperature freezer has arrived for storage of the Pfizer vaccine which will be distributed to providers from the Health Department. After removal from the main freezer, vaccine doses can be stored at normal clinic refrigerator temperatures for five days.
  4. Yolo County will receive an initial allocation of 975 doses of Pfizer vaccine which requires two doses administered 3 weeks apart.
  5. An additional 1500 doses of the Moderna vaccine are anticipated to arrive near Christmas
  6. Sisson is holding networking sessions by teleconference with county providers to arrange the details of vaccine distribution when available.
  7. CVS and Walgreen’s pharmacies have formed a partnership to provide the vaccine to skilled nursing facilities which will be treated as pods to guarantee second dose administration on time.
  8. Reminder systems are currently being devised for the general public.

A subcommittee of the Health Council has researched means to improve communication between the Department of Public Health and the public. Their initial recommendations include:

  1. A dashboard provider page
  2. A link to SNF information potentially updated weekly
  3. A section for frequently asked questions

I give a great deal of credit to the Public Health Department, the Health Council and its subcommittee whose time is volunteered to improve our pandemic response. We have fared as well as or better than many of our surrounding counties with Davis faring better than other communities in our county. However, it is my feeling that we remain locked into the cycle of tightening restrictions, measurable improvement followed by a collective sigh of relief and premature declaration of victory which leads us to attempt a too rapid “return to normal”. I would like to stress that it is my opinion that there can be no return to normal prior to a full distribution of the vaccine first to hospital personnel, first responders, to vulnerable populations and finally to the general public. Unfortunately, I am concerned that inconsistent messaging, some avoidable, and some not, has hampered our ability to achieve an adequate acceptance of the vaccines to have an optimal outcome. If this is true, we would need a continuation of distancing, masking and increased sanitation as a societal norm rather than exceptional short-term efforts. To date our efforts have been largely reactive with “flattening the curve” portrayed as a major goal rather than a short-term temporizing measure. As a primary care provider, my preference would be a proactive approach stressing the stop of community spread rather than “flattening the curve” as the primary and necessary goal.

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About The Author

Tia is a graduate of UCDMC and long time resident of Davis who raised her two now adult children here. She is a local obstetrician gynecologist with special interests in preventive medicine and public health and safety. All articles and posts written by Tia are reflective only of her own opinions and are in no way a reflection of the opinions of her partners or her employer.

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  1. Alan Miller

    I asked Jane Doe about her attitude regarding her beliefs around the Coronavirus and her response was, “I am less worried about catching the coronavirus than I am about the vaccine”.  I saw another friend at a masks required event recently walking around without a mask among everyone else with masks.  Another friend is going to Europe on Monday.  Another friend just got back from his second surfing vacation in Mexico since the pandemic began.  Another has traveled from France and back twice.  Another has been going back and forth to Columbia, and another is planning a trip to Columbia.  I have more examples.  The degree of not-locked-down is probably unbelievable to most who are voluntarily locked down (like myself).

  2. Tia Will


    I know. I have just recently been inundated with personal stories of people I know whose lives are being affected by COVID, either directly, or indirectly in terms of the unavailability of appropriate care. I am frankly shocked and saddened by the lack of knowledge and or personal responsibility associated with this pandemic.

  3. Alan Miller

    This from the Enterprise yesterday:

    the order also asks all residents to remain at home, leaving only for essential activities such as buying food, visiting healthcare providers or going to essential jobs.

    Yet, a Davis friend is leaving for Europe next week on a leisure trip, and as stated above all through the pandemic I’ve had friends traveling the world unconcerned with the virus and unimpaired in the ability to travel.  Since me and most people I know have barely left their houses, I was quite surprised by the first friend who told me they got on a plane to surf in Mexico (twice).  But now, even as we are ordered to stay at home, those that don’t believe in the virus — or don’t believe it’s a big deal — apparently 100’s of millions of people — just do what they want, and that’s apparently fine.  How is it business are opened, and shut down, and open and shut down, and people can go out, and not go out, and not wear masks and then have wear them indoors and then have to wear them outside, or not and then open the business and shut it down and open the playground and shut it down again — and yet at the same time anyone can just fly off to the other side of the world? Is it any wonder people have become totally deluded, skeptical, frustrated, doubtful and even psychotic?

    1. Don Shor

      order … asks

      This is a non-sequitur, as most people have evidently figured out.
      It isn’t an “order” if there is no enforcement.
      From another news story:

      …The new order, which will last at least three weeks, bans private gatherings of any size,

      No it doesn’t.
      Definition of a ‘ban’:

      Definition of ban
      transitive verb
      1: to prohibit especially by legal means

      How many citations have been issued for illegal private gatherings?
      As far as I can tell, the only active enforcement of these orders is against businesses and sporting events, and, of course, public schools.

      1. Matt Williams

        Don, orders can be obeyed and orders can be disobeyed.  Regardless they are all orders.  Similarly, as you know from your business orders can be filled and orders can go unfilled (for a myriad of reasons), but regardless of their “filling status” they are all orders.

        1. Don Shor

          You have just used two entirely different definitions of the word ‘order’.
          A reasonable comparison is the regulation of my business by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, whose orders are enforced by the County Agricultural Commissioner.
          The ag commissioner’s position is very similar to that of the county health officer. It is one of the few agencies that can literally shut us down without notice for an undetermined period of time, in the case of the ag commissioner for reasons related to infestation by quarantined pests.
          I operate presently under three quarantine orders: light brown apple moth, Asian citrus psyllid (and HLB disease) on citrus, and glassy-winged sharpshooter. There is also a nursery stock quarantine against red imported fire ant.
          Every citrus tree I sell must be treated by the grower to prevent the psyllid. It arrives with a blue tag that may not be removed, and documentation of the treatment materials and dates. I have to keep that document on file, and every citrus tree has this paper trail.
          Plants arriving from Southern California must be inspected before shipment for sharpshooter, and must be inspected again upon receipt at my nursery before they are released for sale. They arrive with a blue tag which is also provided to the ag commissioner, and it is my duty to call them upon arrival for immediate inspection.
          There are traps in my nursery, installed and monitored by the ag commissioner’s office, to monitor for both of those pests as well as the apple moth. I have engaged with officials from the state ag office and even the USDA on this protocol.
          In the event of an infestation, my nursery will be closed. We will then agree on a treatment protocol, and since I am trained in that regard it is likely that we will quickly come to an agreement on that. Then after treatment my nursery will be inspected before I am allowed to reopen. If I were not able to provide the treatment, they would do it and I would pay for it.
          Paper trails. Inspections. Fines, closures, and consequences for failure to comply. All in place due to orders from the state about specific pests.
          Those are orders, and this is how they are managed.
          To date, the sharpshooter remains confined to Southern California, preventing the spread of Pierce’s disease into wine grapes in Northern California. The psyllid continues to spread, so the orders have changed over time as we all grapple with the possible spread of citrus greening disease. The process has been one of cooperation between the industry and state research scientists.
          But it doesn’t rely on voluntary cooperation, because it is understood that won’t work.

        2. Alan Miller

          That is my point, there have been so many conflicting orders and people are figuring out they are hypocritical, weigh on some small businesses (which can get shut down) and many people are just out there having a good time.  So what, me comply?

        3. Bill Marshall

          Am thinking you have a semi-good analogy, Don…

          But you’ll not be shut down if another nursery has a problem… only yours, if there is a problem, right?

          The analogy fails the way the ‘orders’ were issued, interpreted… your operation includes a mix of indoor and outdoor activities… you’re still ‘open’, right?

          Some of us are more adversely affected, even when no instance of ‘infection’ is traced to the specific ‘operation’ at a given site… that is fact…

          We are following the guidelines/”orders”… even tho’ our site of worship/spiritual practice has zero history of transmission… we have sign-ups (for tracing), temp checks, sanitizing (before and after attending), masks, separation (and have done so since March), but we’re basically shut down, in spite of those measures… it is what it is, but it grates, big time…

          That’s why I can only say “semi”-good…

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