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Santa Clara County officials plea with public to cancel holiday gatherings

Bay Area

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — The COVID-19 toll reaches a grim milestone in Santa Clara County.

On Wednesday, county officials came together to urge residents to follow all health guidelines over the holidays as a matter of life and death.

Santa Clara County officials held a pre-Christmas holiday COVID-19 update press conference to deliver an urgent message: If you are thinking about traveling over the holidays — don’t do it.

“Celebrate with just those in your household,” Santa Clara County Director of Public Health Dr. Sara Cody said. “If you have plans to travel, go home and cancel them.”

“Pick up your phones right now. Cancel any gathering that you were anticipating with anyone who does not live with you,” Dr. Ahmad Kamal said.

“We now have 632 deaths in Santa Clara County,” County Counsel James R. Williams said.

County officials are warning more deaths are likely judging by the surge in people suffering from COVID-19 a few weeks after the Thanksgiving holiday.

“When we came to talk with all of you before Thanksgiving, we were extremely concerned about a surge of cases from travel, from gatherings, and that surge occurred,” Williams said. “631 people now with COVID-19 in our hospitals and nearly 60,000 cases of COVID-19 reported in Santa Clara County.”

Compounding matters, there is just a few dozen available ICU beds in the entire county.

“We are talking about people dying who should not have died,” Dr. Kamal said. “When hospitals reach that point where they are rationing care, where they are turning away people who desperately need their care, we are no longer just about COVID, it’s about everybody.”

“I want to say a very sincere thank you to everyone of you who has been sheltering in place and doing your best to be socially distance,” Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Cindy Chavez said. “I miss my mom. I miss my sister. I miss my brother and I haven’t seen them, really, for almost a year now, and I won’t get to see them this holiday. But what my hope is, by missing this holiday, I won’t miss many more holiday with my family and the people I love.”

Add to that, Santa Clara County health care workers say they are mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted from the impact of COVID-19. They too ask for people to give them a break by observing the health orders during the holidays.

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