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Hospital capacity drops below 15% in Santa Clara Co.


SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – In the South Bay, hospitals have already fallen below the 15-percent of capacity threshold that would have triggered a lockdown there. 

If this latest lockdown doesn’t slow down the spread of COVID-19, hospitals in Santa Clara County will run out of ICU beds in three weeks. 

What’s more, there are indications another surge of patients may be arriving soon as a result of people failing to be more careful over the Thanksgiving holiday. 

“So what all of this means is we feel that, in fact, we have little choice but to act and to act now and to act as a region,” Dr. Sara Cody said.

The urgency, apparent in her voice, public health officer Dr. Sara Cody announcing Friday that Santa Clara County is joining a regional proactive lockdown ahead of state action. 

While state guidelines would trigger a lockdown if hospitalizations fell below 15-percent of capacity, Santa Clara County hospitals are now at just 14-percent of capacity and will almost certainly go lower still.

“It takes at least three weeks for our actions to impact the trend in hospitalizations. At least three weeks is a very long lead time, so we must apply the breaks at least three weeks prior or we will run out of the need ICU and hospital capacity to care for everyone who needs care,” Cody said.

Hospitalizations have tripled in recent months as ICU capacity is in decline for COVID and non-COVID patients alike. 

67 people were admitted across the system on Thursday alone, an all-time record. 

Hospitals in East San Jose and in South County have been especially hard hit as the county has begun to see a surge in positivity in the wake of Thanksgiving.

“And while we can’t see that yet reflected in our numbers, we do have some early warning metrics that are telling us that that transmission did occur and that will further impact the surge in our county,” Cody said.

Santa Clara County will stick with orders issued last weekend banning contact sports and requiring a 2-week quarantine for travelers from more than 150 miles away.

The current retail capacity limit of 10-percent will be raised to 20-percent in line with state guidelines.

“We hope that by acting early and acting as a region, we will hav

e the best chance at bending the curve faster and of getting out of this difficult situation sooner and of saving more lives,” Cody said.

The numbers just keep adding up. Santa Clara County first recorded its first COVID case back in February and its first death about a month later. Since then, 532 other people have died.

The lockdown begins Sunday at 10 p.m.

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