SANTA CLARA (KRON) – Santa Clara County reached a sobering milestone this week as it surpassed 1,000 deaths cause by the coronavirus, the first Bay Area county to do so.

Santa Clara has been the hardest hit out of the Bay Area counties since the beginning of the pandemic, being the first county in the United States to record a COVID-19 death on February 6, 2020.

Santa Clara Director of Public Health Dr. Sara Cody, who has been one of the strictest public health officers and the first to implement large scale lockdowns in the Bay Area, reflected on the grim number.

“Our hearts go out to everyone in our community who has lost a loved one due to COVID-19,” Cody said. “One thousand deaths is a devastating and tragic milestone for our community. We mourn each life lost, and our goal continues to be to save as many lives as possible.”

The milestone comes when ICU capacity is at a low five percent in the county, with 47 percent of occupied beds taken by COVID patients.

A glimmer of hope is on the horizon, however, as vaccine distribution starts to become available to other demographics outside of health care workers.

Yesterday, California expanded vaccine eligibility to people 65 and older, with the Sutter Health site crashing on the first day vaccine appointments could be made.