SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — As of this week, more than one million people have died of COVID in the US. That’s according to death certificates from the CDC. The first person to die of COVID in the country lived in Santa Clara County.

The countries first known COVID death happened in Santa Clara County on February 6. It caused the public health department here to do a lot of firsts and it’s why Dr. Sarah Cody, a health officer with Santa Clara County, continues to recommend precautions.

For more than two years, the COVID statistics have been daunting, and that continued this week as the CDC confirmed that one million people in the US have died from the virus.

“It is very difficult to comprehend,” Cody said. “If other communities had faired as well as we have, relatively speaking hundreds of thousands of people would still be alive in the United States.”

Cody says the restrictions she put in place at the beginning of the pandemic helped Santa Clara County avoid a high mortality rate and something other’s should have learned from.

She says Santa Clara County didn’t just have stricter rules, but ones that most residents adhered to – keeping the death toll to 2,281 people as of Wednesday.

“Really this region has at every turn really stepped up from sheltering in place in their homes when we really had no other tools available, to stepping up and getting vaccinated to wearing their masks,” the doctor added.

Cody says the current rise in COVID cases is to do a sub-variant of Omicron that’s spreads more easily than Omicron.

The number of positive cases being reported aren’t as high as the January surge and the same for hospitalizations.

However, Cody continues to stress the importance of being up to date with vaccinations, testing when sick and masking indoors.

“The virus continues to change and so our response to it needs to change as well,” she said.

Cody says though Santa Clara County’s mortality rate is lower than most counties, there were more COVID deaths here last year than all other infectious disease deaths combined over the last decade.