Success in Vaccinating Most County Residents and Low COVID-19 Case Rates Allow Health Officer to Adopt New, More Focused Local Order

May 18, 2021

New order, which retires most remaining local rules, requires businesses to determine the vaccination status of workers and continue reporting COVID-19 cases.  New order is effective Wednesday, when Santa Clara County enters the “Yellow Tier” under the State’s Blueprint

Santa Clara County, Calif. – Today, County officials announced that Santa Clara County has made excellent progress in the fight against COVID-19.  Case rates have declined to some of their lowest levels at any point in the pandemic, and test positivity rates have hit an all-time low.  The county’s vaccination rates are also among the very highest in the nation, as more than 75% of county residents 16 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine.  On Wednesday, the county will enter the least restrictive “Yellow Tier” under the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

With the county in a much safer place than it was even a month ago, County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody announced that she would be lifting most of the local rules currently in place, including requirements that businesses maximize the number of staff who are teleworking, replacing prior rules with a limited local health order.  The new order will require continued reporting of COVID-19 cases in workplaces and schools, and will require employers to determine which staff are fully vaccinated in advance of changes to State masking and social distancing requirements for fully vaccinated people in the workplace.  The new order goes into effect Wednesday, May 19th.

“Today is a huge milestone on our county’s path out of this pandemic,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer and Director of Public Health for the County of Santa Clara.  “Because so many members of our community are now fully vaccinated, COVID-19 case rates are at some of the lowest levels we’ve seen since the start of the pandemic.  We are now confident that vaccination not only prevents people from getting sick, it also prevents people from spreading COVID-19.” 

The County also addressed recent announcements from the CDC and the State Department of Public Health related to masking and social distancing requirements for fully vaccinated people.  “Because the approved COVID vaccines offer extraordinary protection against illness and transmission, fully vaccinated people will not need to follow the same precautions as people who are unvaccinated,” said Dr. Cody.  “We support the State’s decision to align its policies with the CDC’s recommendations on June 15th, giving more people time to get vaccinated and giving businesses more time to prepare for that change.  If you are eligible and haven’t already been vaccinated, now is the time.” 

“I want to thank our residents and businesses for their tireless efforts to ensure the safety of our community over the past year,” said James R. Williams, County Counsel for the County of Santa Clara.  “This new, more limited health order is focused on ensuring safety for workers and the public.  As the State prepares to lift its Blueprint for a Safer Economy and adopt even more differentiated rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated people, this order will help businesses and the public prepare.  The bottom line is that now is the moment to ensure you’re fully vaccinated.”

The changes to local requirements come as more than 75% of Santa Clara County residents over the age of 16 have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and nearly 60% are fully vaccinated.  Getting vaccinated has never been easier, as the County and other vaccine providers have established many vaccine clinics throughout the county.  Many of these vaccination sites do not require appointments, and many offer weekend and evening hours.   

The County is continuing to make every effort to reach the communities hardest-hit by the pandemic to ensure equitable access to these life-saving vaccines.  The latest information about vaccines and appointments is available on the County’s vaccine website at

With the recent approval of the Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds, the County of Santa Clara has made the Pfizer vaccine, which is the vaccine approved for that age group, available at all of its vaccination sites. The County is also working with pediatricians throughout the region to ensure they can also offer vaccination to their patients.

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