Skin Deep: Not all hand sanitizers are created equal

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Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a surge in the use of hand sanitizers, but not all are effective.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, I thought it would be apropos to discuss the different types of hand sanitizers available and how to evaluate their efficacy in killing germs.

Staying Active: Why sheltering in place might be causing your back problems

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Photo Courtesy PhysioFit
Sheltering in place during the pandemic could be leading to your back problems.

Ever since people started sheltering in place because of COVID-19, we’ve heard from many clients that they’re experiencing more back pain. We can think of plenty of reasons why you may be struggling with a stiffer-than-usual back. The good news is that understanding the root cause of the problem can help you manage your spine health and develop a pain management plan.

To be safe or to be free: Choosing liberty over anxiety

To be safe or to be free? I often pose this question when talking about anxiety, worries and fears. That’s because we really do have a choice to make between anxiety and freedom, and this question makes us think about what it is that we truly want.

When we are anxious, so much of our time and energy is spent on avoiding risks and dangers. We often get caught up in the mindset that if we try hard enough, we can reduce our risks and thereby avoid our fears, but ultimately we end up feeling more afraid. It’s a common, vicious cycle.

Tips on changing behavior during challenging times

In many cases, these challenging times – COVID-19 pandemic, economic strife and racial unrest – can be impacted by our behaviors, especially with regard to education, collaboration and action. There are also other health, medical, social and financial changes and shifts we all may need to con-sider making over the next several months and years, which will take time and effort.

Following are tips on behavior change, based on my certifications in this area, that may help you continue to survive and thrive during these challenging times and beyond.

El Camino Healthcare District board OKs $2.4M for widespread COVID testing

Rengstorff Park
Andrew Yee/Special to the Town Crier
A Mountain View resident is tested for COVID-19 during a pop-up testing event in Rengstorff Park. The County of Santa Clara Public Health Department deployed a mobile testing unit to the area for a few days in late May in an effort to test as many people as possible to track the virus’ spread.

 With a $2.4 million shot in the arm from the El Camino Healthcare District’s board reserves, El Camino Hospital officials hope to test 20,000 local residents for COVID-19.

The testing, available at El Camino Health’s Mountain View campus, is available by appointment for anyone who lives, works or attends school within the district – an area that incorporates most of Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, a large portion of Sunnyvale and small sections of Cupertino, Santa Clara and Palo Alto.

County offers free COVID testing for all residents

Coronavirus Header

Previously available only to those with coronavirus symptoms, regional officials reported today that free testing is available by appointment for all Santa Clara County residents – including those who are asymptomatic.

Officials with the county, city of San Jose and Verily Life Sciences – a subsidiary of Google’s Alphabet – announced today the expansion of testing at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds and PAL Stadium in east San Jose, an area that has recorded a disproportionate number of COVID-19 cases and deaths.

The cluster, according to San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, is partly attributable to the large number of essential workers who live in east San Jose, many of whom continue to work at grocery stores, pharmacies or child care facilities to support their families.

“These people are doing all they possibly can for their families, and as a result they are at greater risk,” Liccardo said.

Free COVID-19 diagnostic tests are now available for asymptomatic Santa Clara County residents at PAL Stadium and the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds: SccFreeTest.org. We’re grateful to the Google/Verily team for expanding testing access in San José so we can support our community members with the help they need and safely reopen our economy.

Posted by Sam Liccardo on Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The county’s goal is to administer 4,000 tests daily, county Board of Supervisors President Cindy Chavez said. To hit that number, county officials must spread the word about the free and accessible testing, and residents must follow through with testing. Essential workers should be tested monthly, county testing officer Dr. Marty Fenstersheib added.

People don’t need to leave their cars during testing. John Propst, Verily’s head of COVID-19 testing operations, said it takes under three minutes to conduct the test, as residents must schedule their drive-thru appointments. To date, Verily has conducted more than 120,000 tests across the state.

County officials are ramping up testing as they loosen restrictions under the shelter-in-place orders, Fenstersheib said. More people out and about means a greater chance of a surge in infections.

Fenstersheib previewed a plan the county hopes to enact that would dispatch mobile units to serve people without transportation, easy access to the internet or the ability to speak the English.

The county is recruiting hundreds of volunteers to participate in case investigation and contact tracing efforts led by an Emergency Operations Center unit. According to information listed on the city of Los Altos’ COVID-19 resources page, volunteers must be able to serve as a “disaster service worker” with the county for 32-40 hours per week for a minimum of six months. They will work remotely, so they must have access to high-speed internet and a computer. Those with a background in health and familiar with medical terminology, as well as those who may be fluent in Spanish, Vietnamese and Chinese, are preferred.

To make an appointment for testing, visit sccfreetest.org.

For the county’s pandemic resources page, visit sccgov.org/sites/covid19/Pages/home.aspx.


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