COVID-19 impacts every corner of the community. Working with partners throughout Santa Cruz County, we have developed a framework to safely move forward that protects residents, aligns with State public health authorities and the governor’s Resilience Roadmap, and is based on measurable objectives to increase community resiliency.

What is SAVE Lives Santa Cruz County?

Recognizing the challenge COVID-19 poses to the community, SAVE Lives Santa Cruz County is a partnership between the County of Santa Cruz and Community Foundation Santa Cruz County designed to facilitate a community-based plan for moving forward. It is based on four principles:

    Until a vaccine and human immunity are in place, we must use the tools we have to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect lives. These include:
    • Physical distancing measures
    • Expanding public health testing, case investigation, contact tracing and isolation and quarantine capabilities
    • Expanding healthcare capacity and PPE availability
    In order to continue offering services, we recognize changes are necessary to minimize harm. These include:
    • Modify physical distancing measures for businesses, schools, childcare facilities and community
    • Maintain and monitor testing, contact tracing and isolation and quarantine capacities
    • Maintain and monitor public health and healthcare capacities
    Once a vaccine is available, we must:
    • Develop a vaccination plan to coordinate equitable, risk-based distribution
    • Increase capacity for mass dispensing
    • Implement agreements with private and public partners to be dispensing sites
    • Ensure ability to develop and administer therapeutics to meet the demand
    COVID-19 will change the way we function as a community. Our task includes:
    • Elevating readiness for next public health emergency
    • Strengthening Public Health infrastructure and workforce
    • Evaluating and improving Public Health information systems


In order to meet State criteria and open up more sectors of our community, we must increase our resiliency to COVID-19. The State has established a number of conditions for counties to move beyond State rules and reopen limited sectors such as dine-in restaurants and shopping centers. Each of these indicators must be met in order for the County to receive a variance allowing the County and local businesses to move into later Stage 2 of the governor’s Resilience Roadmap.


  • <25 cases per 100,000 over 14 days, or less than 8% positive test rate
  • Stable or decreasing hospitalization numbers over 14 days
Less than 25 new cases per 100,000 residents in the past 14 days OR less than 8% testing positive in the past 7 days
Stable hospitalizations of COVID individuals on a 7-day average of daily percent change of less than 5% OR no more than 20 COVID hospitalizations on any single day in the past 14 days


  • Guidance for employers
  • Availability of supplies
Guidance for employers and essential critical infrastructure workplaces on how to structure the physical environment to protect essential workers
Availability of supplies (disinfectant, essential protective gear) to protect essential workers


  • Daily testing volume of 1.5 per 1,000 people
  • Tests available for 75% of residents
Minimum daily testing volume to test 1.5 per 1,000 residents, which can be met through a combination of testing of symptomatic individuals and targeted surveillance. The county’s average daily testing volume for the past week must be provided. If the county does not believe a testing volume of 1.5 per 1,000 residents is merited, justification must be provided.
Testing availability for at least 75% of residents, as measured by a specimen collection site (including established health care providers) within 30 minutes driving time in urban areas, and 60 minutes in rural areas.


  • Minimum contact tracing capabilities
  • Housing units for 15% of homeless
Sufficient contact tracing so public health staff work can work with a patient to help them recall everyone with whom they have had close contact during the timeframe while they may have been infectious. For counties that have no cases, there should be at least 15 staff per 100,000 county population trained and available for contact tracing; for counties with small populations, there must be at least one staff person trained and available.
Availability of temporary housing units to shelter at least 15% of county residents experiencing homelessness in case of an outbreak among this population requiring isolation and quarantine of affected individuals. The county’s plans to support individuals, including those experiencing homelessness, who are not able to properly isolate in a home setting by providing them with temporary housing (including access to a private bathroom), for the duration of the necessary isolation or quarantine period must be described.


  • Ability to address 35% surge in cases
  • Plan for workforce protective equipment
County (or regional) hospital capacity to accommodate a minimum surge of 35% due to COVID-19 cases in addition to providing usual care for non-COVID-19 patients.
County (or regional) hospital facilities have a robust plan to protect the hospital workforce, both clinical and nonclinical, with PPE.


  • Protective equipment for skilled nursing staff
  • Prevent and mitigate infections in skilled nursing facilities
Must have plans to prevent and mitigate infections in skilled nursing facilities
Skilled nursing facilities (SNF) have more than a 14 day supply of PPE on hand for staff, with an established process for ongoing procurement from non-state supply chains.


  • With all indicators now met, Santa Cruz County is in the process of applying for a variance to move into full Stage 2 of the Resilience Roadmap.

Indicator Progress


Economic Recovery Council

Read More

Get Tested

Read More


Read More

Community Foundation

Read More

Resilience Roadmap

Read More

Find Childcare

Read More