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Santa Clara County reaches grim milestone in COVID-19 cases

Bay Area

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — As the holiday season continues, Santa Clara County Public Health officials are urging residents to continue to adhere to COVID-19 restrictions as cases continue to rise. 

“Hospitals continue to be under tremendous amount of stress we are consistently at less than 10% of our ICU capacity,” said Dr. Ahmad Kamal, Director of Healthcare Preparedness for the Santa Clara County Emergency Operations Center. 

“Just today there were only 28 vacant ICU beds and that number changes our to hour and day by day.”

In Santa Clara County, COVID-19 is projected to be the third leading cause of death this year, only behind cancer and heart disease. 

Data shows the county passing a grim milestone this week with 67,423 COVID-19 cases, 712 hospitalizations, and a total of 673 COVID-19-related deaths. 

“We remain very concerned about the strain on our healthcare system which is affecting not only ICU’s but non-ICU beds, emergency rooms, the EMS transport system, and it just doesn’t affect COVID,” said Kamal. 

“Now the way hospitals are there’s definitely a possibility that they’re unable to provide care to non-COVID patients.” 

As COVID-19 cases rise, public health officials and community leaders are continuing to remind and urge the public to strictly adhere to the regional stay-at-home order.  

Similar to state numbers — the Latino community continues to be the most affected population in Santa Clara County, representing 52% of all COVID-19 cases while only making up 25.8% of the county’s entire population. 

“The threshold set by the state the 15% [ICU bed capacity] and we have not been anywhere near that we’ve been definitely below that for weeks now and given the trend were seeing it doesn’t appear that in the next few weeks we’re going to recover from here,” said Kamal. 

With the New Year approaching, Kamal reminds the public to continue to do their part to slow the spread of the virus by wearing face coverings and avoid gatherings with people outside your household. 

According to public health officials, at least 40 % of people with COVID-19 do not experience symptoms while still being contagious and others are contagious before symptoms begin.  

“We never really recovered from the Thanksgiving surge and thankfully over Christmas, we didn’t see as steep of an increase as we saw in the days after Thanksgiving and we feel this may reflect some of the sacrifices that people made in terms of traveling and gathering,” said Kamal. 

“We’re very thankful to the community for everything they’re doing, sometimes it may seem that one person’s or one family’s actions don’t matter but they do and everything we do together is what drives the pandemic either up or down.”

COVID-19 testing is available for county residents in San Jose, Sunnyvale, Gilroy and Los Gatos.

Testing at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds will be offered Dec. 31 but not on Jan. 1. 

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