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:


Under the direction of Margaret Lapiz, SAVE Lives’ first objective is to build the public health foundation for safeguarding our community, including increasing testing capacity, contact tracing capacity, isolation/quarantine capabilities, and surveillance methods for containing the outbreak of disease. This includes objectives such as assuring adequate supplies of personal protective equipment and testing kits, training and on-boarding of new contact tracing staff, and the development of systems that facilitate data flow and reporting.

If you are sick with even mild symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing) of COVID-19, get tested right away with your medical provider. We have provided a map showing medical locations currently providing testing for patients across Santa Cruz County, including their addresses, hours of operation and contact information.

We encourage asymptomatic individuals working in essential and critical roles to be tested on a regular basis. We have positioned the OptumServe community testing site at Ramsay Park in Watsonville to serve as our location for testing residents with no Covid-19 symptoms. Testing services are by appointment only. No walk-ups will be allowed. Testing may be arranged online by visiting Individuals without Internet access should call 888-634-1123 to arrange an appointment.

As a county, we are on track to assemble the team of contact tracers required under the variance criteria set forth by the State of California. These personnel are an important part of our response matrix in following up on any positive cases. They are responsible for interviewing patients about any recent contacts, and contacting those individuals so that they may quarantine and limit the spread of COVID-19.

The Resilience Roadmap is California’s plan for moving forward under the pandemic, reopening sectors of the economy and getting people back to work safely. It includes four stages, the last of which is lifting the Shelter-in-Place order. Each stage of the Roadmap is predicated on the State being able to meet certain benchmarks, such as caring for vulnerable residents or hospital surge capacity, before moving forward. Each of those sectors, such as personal services or movies theaters, are listed in different stages of the Roadmap. For more, go here.

The State sets the bar for recovery. The County can be more restrictive than the governor’s Resilience Roadmap on Shelter-in-Place requirements, but cannot be less restrictive unless certain requirements are met. If the governor allows us to move into later Stage 2 and we meet the criteria, we plan on doing so. If the governor says we cannot move into Stage 3, we cannot.

Stages refer to the Resilience Roadmap. Each stage includes sectors such as offices, retail, restaurants, etc. The County may not allow these sectors to reopen unless first approved by the State under the Resilience Roadmap.

The state has provided industry guidance, which is available here. The County may issue additional guidance in partnership with the Economic Recovery Council.

Under the governor’s Resilience Roadmap, counties that meet certain criteria may apply for a variance allowing them to reopen businesses and operations that fall under the later part of Stage 2 (Santa Cruz county is currently in early Stage 2, allowing retailers to do curbside pickup).

The County will likely seek a variance. If approved, it allows us to move into later Stage 2. To do that, we have to meet several metrics and create several plans. We are in the process of doing that and will post updates on a new SAVE Lives Santa Cruz County website, including progress reports on meeting the necessary metrics.

The County cannot approve operations for specific business. The State plan is designed around sectors. Once those sectors open, individual businesses may open as long as the follow State and local health and safety requirements.

SAVE Lives Santa Cruz County can help assure conditions are in place to move forward once the State allows those sectors to reopen, but we cannot go further than the State allows. Until the State allows us to open expanded restaurant dining, apartment swimming pools, museums or many other types of businesses and community facilities, we may not move ahead of the State, no matter what the local Health Officer does.