SBC Health Officer gives message to community about COVID-19

Dr. Martin Fenstersheib addresses concerns and restrictions.

Information provided by San Benito County Public Health Services.

On March 18, San Benito County Health Officer Dr. Martin Fenstersheib issued a release that said COVID-19 cases are expected to continue to be discovered as more testing is done.

“But testing alone will not stop the spread of the infection,” he said, “and for that very reason, our regional counties have taken some pretty aggressive steps to try and slow down the spread of disease. By all of us staying at home or as we call it, ‘sheltering in place,’ we can keep from becoming infected.”

The shelter in place order for San Benito County went into effect March 18 and is currently in place until April 7. Five cases of COVID-19 have been identified so far, Fenstersheib said, and that number is likely to increase as time goes on.

“But we can all do our part to keep these numbers low by following our public health orders,” he said. “And if you do become ill, don’t go out; call your doctor if necessary and stay away from others.”

In the release, Fenstersheib recognized that the shelter in place order is disrupting daily life.

“We have made sure that all the essential and necessary services remain open. You can still get groceries and your medications at the pharmacies and see your health care provider,” he said. “Everyone is feeling some panic and rushing to stores, causing long lines and emptying shelves. This is human nature, and things will get better with time. Remember, essential service workers are still on the job, so your water will still flow, your electricity will stay on and your garbage will be collected. You can use grocery delivery services and restaurant pick-up and delivery services if you choose.”

The shelter in place order was made to protect individuals, not to isolate or disconnect them, Fenstersheib said.

“Families might be spending more time at home together. It’s a good time to talk about what is happening with your children and check in with each other. Telephones and texting still work fine, so check up on friends and relatives, especially the elderly.”

The public health officer for San Benito County reminded residents to continue practicing good personal hygiene such as washing your hands often.

“Soap and water work fine if you don’t have hand sanitizers,” Fenstersheib said. “Clean surfaces regularly. The virus is very sensitive to all the disinfectants, as well as the hot water and detergent you use to wash your clothes. Weather permitting, get outside and get some exercise, just remember to maintain at least six feet from others.”

BenitoLink Staff