This is the KSQD news hub for COVID-19 information. This page will be regularly updated with new links and information regarding the local, regional and national situation related to the COVID-19 coronavirus.
To help assist the community in answering questions about the COVID-19 outbreak, The County of Santa Cruz has established a call center to help direct questions to the proper channels. If you have questions, please call (831) 454-4242 between the hours of 8 a.m.- 6 p.m., Monday-Friday.
What can currently open:
California has fully reopened its economy. This means no more physical distancing, no capacity limits, no county tiers, and relaxed mask guidance.
As of June 15, 2021, the Governor terminated the executive orders that put into place the Stay Home Order and the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. He also phased out the vast majority of executive actions put in place since March 2020 as part of the pandemic response, leaving a subset of provisions that facilitate the ongoing recovery.
The new public health order effective June 15 supersedes all prior health orders. The order has limited restrictions, only related to masking and mega-events, as well as settings serving children and youth pending an expected update to the K-12 schools guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There are some settings where masking is still required for everyone, such as:
-Long-term care facilities
-Indoors in K-12 schools, childcare, and other youth settings
Masking is also still required for unvaccinated individuals in many indoor settings. See CDPH’s Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings to learn where masks are recommended or may be required.
Latest COVID-19 Orders
Latest COVID-19 News
KSQD COVID-19 Updates
KSQD Posts/Podcasts Related to COVID-19
Other Local News Resources
October 28, 2020
October 14, 2020
October 7, 2020
September 1, 2020
August 14, 2020
August 8, 2020
University of California has announced that all members of the UC community are now required to receive an influenza immunization before November 1st .
This proactive measure aims to protect those on campus and the surrounding community, and avoid a surge of flu cases at health care facilities during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), flu vaccination is a safe and effective way to prevent millions of illnesses and thousands of related medical visits every year.
KSQD will share additional information from UC as it becomes available.
August 4, 2020
City Implements Temporary Park Closures and Program Cancellations Due to COVID-19
SANTA CRUZ, CA – Starting August 7, the City of Santa Cruz will be closing some facilities and canceling some programs for the fall 2020 season.
“Due to the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Parks and Recreation Department has seen a temporary reduction in staffing levels. The department is examining how best to deploy our existing resources given this reduction. We will be focusing our efforts on facilities and programs allowed to run under State guidelines,” Director of Parks and Recreation Tony Elliot said.
Temporary closures and cancellations for the fall 2020 season currently include:
Athletics and leagues
Community events and special events scheduled for the Civic Auditorium
Lower DeLaveaga Park and George Washington Grove
Park restrooms will be replaced by portable restrooms and handwashing stations at Grant Park, San Lorenzo Park, Frederick St. Park, Ocean View Park, Neary Lagoon, and Garfield Park.
The Civic Auditorium and Louden Nelson Community Center will also remain closed for public programs. The department is exploring possibilities to be repurposed to provide much-needed additional space for government activities, childcare, or homelessness response during the pandemic. Additionally, the San Lorenzo Park Benchlands will be closed to the general public but will continue to function as a managed encampment for individuals experiencing homelessness in partnership with Santa Cruz County.
A full slate of online programming will continue to serve community members. The fall activity guide will be posted the week of August 10, and registration for classes begins August 17. Classes offered will primarily be virtual with a small number of in-person outdoor fitness classes for adults. For more information, visit santacruzparksandrec.com.
July 27, 2020
July 10, 2020
July 10, 2020
June 30, 2020
Santa Cruz Mayor to City: Personal Responsibility is Crucial
Residents can help restrict the spread of COVID-19, ensure health and safety for all
SANTA CRUZ, CA – With the beaches now open and thousands expected to visit Santa Cruz for the Independence Day holiday, Mayor Justin Cummings urges residents to remain cautious, limit gatherings and avoid crowds this weekend.
“Santa Cruz has been a leader in the State in minimizing the impacts of COVID-19. I urge our residents to continue to lead by example,” said Mayor Justin Cummings. “Consider staying at home or seeking outdoor venues other than the beaches for holiday celebrations. We are not only responsible for our own health, but also the health of the most vulnerable residents in our community.”
The County’s face covering order, which aligns with the State’s guidance, remains in place indefinitely. Face coverings are required for everyone, including any children over the age of 2 years old. Physical distancing of at least six feet is also strongly urged.
Education and encouragement, not enforcement, characterizes the City’s approach. “With hotels, state parks, and other areas for tourism and recreation open, it is very hard to manage keeping just the City’s beaches closed. In the absence of a statewide emphasis on minimizing travel and county-wide beach closures, more conflict could arise between law enforcement and people who are visiting from out of town. Our officers are needed to respond to increase in calls that we typically receive during the 4th of July holiday weekend. People should continue to shelter in place and follow the guidelines that will ensure their health and wellbeing,” Cummings said.
Santa Cruz Police and Fire crews will focus on enforcement of the citywide Safety Enhancement Zone that will be in effect from 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 2, 2020, through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, July 5, 2020. The safety enhancement designation authorizes the tripling of fees for violations of the City’s municipal code, such as the illegal discharge of fireworks, littering, and public consumption of alcohol.
According to the Santa Cruz County Health Officer, most documented cases in Santa County and the state are person-to-person spread by known contacts who remained within 6 feet of each other for prolonged periods without wearing face coverings. The County began to see upticks in cases following Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and graduation celebrations.
Residents should also remain vigilant at gatherings of family and friends to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Minimize contact with others, including keeping visits short, wearing face coverings, staying 6 feet apart whenever possible, washing your hands often, and gathering outdoors instead of indoors. Additionally, be sure to clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces, and don’t share utensils or equipment, including sports equipment.
June 19, 2020
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April 21, 2020
City of Santa Cruz Resumes Enforcement of Beach Area Parking Meters
SANTA CRUZ — The City of Santa Cruz will resume enforcement of beach area parking meters this Friday, April 24. Beach area meter enforcement had been suspended in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic, yet increased traffic with nicer spring weather has prompted enforcement to restart.
The decision to resume beach area parking enforcement aims to discourage large crowds in support of the Covid-19 state and Santa Cruz County shelter-in-place orders. This decision in conjunction with closed parking areas along West Cliff and East Cliff drives, encourages minimal non-essential travel in observance of the shelter-in-place orders.
The public is asked to observe posted parking signage and information located on the meters regarding rates and enforcement times. At this time, the City strongly encourages use of the Parkmobile payment application to avoid and/or limit physical contact with the parking meter itself.
Information on how to download and use the Parkmobile payment application can be found at parkmobile.com.
The City of Santa Cruz offers some of the lowest parking fees along the Central Coast. More information is available at cityofsantacruz.com/parkingservices.
Up-to-date information on the City’s operations and response to COVID-19 can be found at cityofsantacruz.com/coronavirus.
April 20, 2020
April 15, 2020
April 14, 2020
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April 6, 2020
April 3, 2020
March 27th, 2020, 11AM: SOME STATE PARKS CLOSED
West Cliff Dr. in Santa Cruz has been closed to parking to reduce public crowding.
California Parks and Recreation began closing some public lands to vehicular traffic earlier this week. As revealed on the Santa Cruz County Twitter feed yesterday, that includes some local parks and beaches. As of this morning the affected spaces include Castle Rock State Park, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, Manresa State Beach, Natural Bridges State Beach, New Brighton State Beach, Seacliff State Beach, and the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park.
For local information, residents may visit:
or text “coronavirus” to 211211. Messaging rates may apply.
22 Confirmed Santa Cruz County Cases
Supervisor John Leopold
The County of Santa Cruz is urging travelers to stay home and avoid crowding Santa Cruz County beaches during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With shelter-in-place orders in place throughout California, non-essential workers are staying home, schools and universities are switching to online classes and some students are entering their customary spring breaks. While outdoor exercise is encouraged in keeping with safe distancing guidelines, large gatherings are a violation of local and state orders meant to protect the health and safety of all
“Santa Cruz County is a popular destination for college students during this time of year,” Sheriff Jim Hart said. “However, the County is asking everyone to adjust their routines in order to protect everyone’s health including their own, as well as the operations of our critical health care infrastructure.”
Despite warnings, many college students have congregated on beaches throughout the U.S., including Florida. Five University of Tampa students are now recovering after testing positive for COVID-19. Violations of health officer’s order are a misdemeanor subject to citation and even arrest. However, the County is seeking voluntary compliance in order to protect public safety resources.
With more State Parks than any other county and 32 miles of beaches, Santa Cruz County offers plenty of outdoor opportunities to maintain health and well-being in compliance with social distancing guidelines.
Second Harvest Food Bank Update
WHAT WE ARE DOING
We are currently working with the school districts to set up additional food distributions, and with our partner agencies to ensure continuity of services. More information about these additional distributions will be available as they role out.
At this time, Second Harvest is following the CDC guidelines as well as the advice from Feeding America with regards to continuing services in our community. According to the CDC, “Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food”, and all volunteers and staff working with food are gloved and trained on safe food handling.
We know that schools and many businesses have been closed and food need in our community is greater than ever. If you or someone you know needs food, call our Community Food Hotline at (831) 662-0991. We can direct you to a food distribution site in your area, take an application for CalFresh (food assistance program) over the phone, and also give you up-to-date food distribution information.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
The current situation is very dynamic, and things may change with a moment’s notice, but right now the biggest needs that Second Harvest Food Bank have are:
Monetary Donations:The Food Bank relies heavily on volunteer labor, which is also being affected by the governor’s recommendations to shelter at home. We are currently hiring additional temporary staffing, which will be a significant expense over the next three months. Along with staffing expenses, we are also sourcing additional food, which will increase expenses. However, our purchasing relationships mean that we can source that food at pennies on the pound.
Healthy Volunteers: (pre-register – no walk-ins) Healthy individuals ages 13 to 60. Must be able to stand for a period of time and lift 35 lbs. The easiest way to sign up is online at www.thefoodbank.org/volunteer or you may contact Jael@thefoodbank.org or call 831-232-8141
Advocacy: Contact your local and federal representatives and ask them to waive the paperwork guidelines on USDA commodities and waive the ABAWD regulations from being enacted.
We understand our role as one of the safety net services of our community and will take all practical measures to supply the community with the foods they need to thrive during this unprecedented time.
For information about where to find food, call our Community Hotline at (831) 662-0991.
County of Santa Cruz
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Jason Hoppin, Communications Manager
Phone: (831) 454-3401
COMMUNITY COVID-19 RESOURCES
To help assist the community in answering questions about the COVID-19 outbreak, the County of Santa Cruz has established a call center to help direct questions to the proper channels. If you have questions, please call (831) 454- 4242 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday-Friday.
Due to overwhelming call volume and in order to maintain the County’s ability to investigate and respond to the outbreak, members of the public are being asked to refrain from calling the County’s Public Health Division or the Communicable Disease Unit. Information about COVID-19 can be found at www.santacruzhealth.org/coronavirus, including English and Spanish FAQs on the shelter-in-place order, guidance for businesses and community organizations and information on how to protect you and your family.
In response to likely economic impacts due to the outbreak, the Santa Cruz County Office for Economic Development, in conjunction with the Workforce Development Board and Small Business Development Center, is hosting a FREE Webinar to provide current information, guidance and resources for local businesses. The Zoom webinar will be held Friday at 3 p.m., is available at https://zoom.us/j/589373809, and will also be shown on Community TV and streamed on the County’s Facebook page.
For students engaged in remote learning or residents working from home during the shelter-in-place order, a group of community volunteers has established a clearinghouse for providing support to individuals who need assistance with networking or technical issues. Individuals willing to volunteer their time assisting the community are also being sought. Visit https://www.cruz.one for more.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many vulnerable community members are likely to experience potentially significant impacts to their well-being and livelihoods. Community Foundation Santa Cruz County has established a fund to raise money for public health and to support vulnerable residents. Donations are encouraged at https://www.cfscc.org/donate/COVID.
Santa Cruz County COVID-19 case total is now 9
SANTA CRUZ COUNTY HEALTH OFFICER ISSUES SHELTER-IN-PLACE ORDER STARTING AT 12:01 AM MARCH 17
SCFD and partner agencies activate Quick Response Vehicles to protect community during COVID-19 spread
From Santa Cruz County Epidemiologist, Will Forrest, who worked for Santa Cruz County for 17 years. Dated March 14th.
You’re probably accustomed to the media jumping on a news story and over-covering it and overstating the concerns. COVID-19 is the opposite of that.
I think there is no COVID control measure, large or small, that you, your family, your friends, or your local, state, or federal government will take, that you’ll ever look back at and say “Oh, that was an overreaction.” Quite the opposite. COVID-19 is likely to kill as many people as World War II did.
I’ve worked as a county health department epidemiologist for most of the last 17 years. I’ve been paying attention, much belatedly, to the data from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran, as well as the bad situation in the state of Washington and the brand-new cases here in Santa Cruz, California. Hardly anyone in the media or in public office seems to understand just how bad our situation is. The numbers of cases in Iran have doubled every two days for a month; most countries are on the same track, and so is Santa Cruz County. Picture a hospital where every hallway is jammed with people standing cheek to jowl like a packed elevator, waiting and hoping that they’ll be the lucky person who gets the next care available. That’s what actually happened in China, and they have more hospital beds per person than the U.S. does. Picture the 24/7 closure of every school, bar, restaurant, cafe, shop (except grocery stores), and so on. That’s pretty much what Italy recently did, but too late; and it’s what Spain and France just did. That’s what we have to do, immediately, everywhere, in order to “flatten the curve” and avoid the kind of catastrophic situation seen elsewhere.
I’m sending you this message in the hopes that you’ll contact your local and state governments to demand that they IMMEDIATELY impose the same kind of “draconian” controls that have been imposed now in Italy, France, and Spain. Next week would be TOO LATE. In this situation, the word “draconian” is kind of interchangeable with the word “inadequate.” We must press for control measures that you would normally consider outrageous and beyond the pale.
You don’t have anything more important than that to do today.
[updated Sunday 3-15-20: Yes, please feel free to share this. I wrote it specifically so that people would contact their governments to demand immediate actions that they won’t dare to take unless we demand them.]
Public Health Division, County of Santa Cruz
HEALTH SERVICES AGENCY
POST OFFICE BOX 962, 1080 Emeline Ave., SANTA CRUZ, CA 95061-0962
TELEPHONE: (831) 454-4000 FAX: (831) 454-4488 TDD: Call 711
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Jason Hoppin, Communications Manager
Phone: (831) 454-3401
March 16, 2020
SANTA CRUZ COUNTY RESPONDS TO COVID-19
To continue providing critical community services such as vital records, marriage licenses, health inspections, building permits, food support and other benefits, child protective services and health and wellness delivery, the County of Santa Cruz will continue operations for the foreseeable future.
However, several operational changes are being enacted to protect the health and safety of residents and staff. These changes are being enacted to comply with guidance from the Santa Cruz County Public Health Officer designed to slow the spread of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, which is present within the Santa Cruz County community.
“The County of Santa Cruz provides critical services to residents, particularly to the one- third of County residents who rely on our health and human services programs to support themselves and their families,” County Administrative Officer Carlos Palacios said. “We are taking some common-sense steps to comply with the guidelines, and will update these measures as needed.”
These changes include but are not limited to:
– Enhanced cleaning schedule at all county facilities including public spaces;
– Compliance with social distancing guidelines at public counters, including
potentially limiting the number of persons in public lobbies at one time;
– Providing extra space and electronic comment options during Board of
– Having County employees on field visits inquire about the health of persons at a
home or facility prior to entry;
– Elimination of walk-up building permit counter hours while maintaining eFiling
and permit appointments;
– Additional screening at County detention and medical facilities;
– Providing additional phone and online participation options to limit large internal meetings; and
– Additional safety signage throughout County facilities.
Many County services, including building permit application and tax payments, are available online and County residents are encourage to use those options in order to support social distancing guidelines.
For Planning Department Services, including applying for an ePermit, submitting building plan applications, scheduling appointments, or making payments, go to www.sccoplanning.com or call (831) 454-2580.
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors has declared a local emergency. Community guidance and other information can be found at www.healthservicesagency.org/coronavirus. Residents are encouraged to call 211 or text “COVID19” to 211211 for state and local public health information.
March 12, 2020
Public Health Officials Confirm Additional COVID-19 Cases
SANTA CRUZ – The County of Santa Cruz Public Health Division is announcing additional cases of COVID-19, for a total of seven.
Many more people have been tested in recent days, and more cases are expected. Santa Cruz County
Public Health is in daily contact and is actively monitoring all cases.
The County of Santa Cruz is now considered to have community spread.
“We have shifted our efforts away from containment and towards mitigation,” Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel said. “We continue to work closely with our regional, state and national partners in our efforts to lessen the impact of COVID-19.”
Dr. Newel has issued social distancing and workplace guidelines.In addition, Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued statewide directives on public gatherings, available here.
As of Thursday morning, California Department of Public Health officials have identified a total of 198
COVID-19 cases statewide, including four deaths.
With Santa Cruz County considered a moderate risk community, guidance on community mitigation
strategies can be found at
Additional updated guidance can be found on the California Department of Public Health website at:
Santa Cruz County residents are strongly urged to take measures to protect themselves, their families
and their community.