SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — As Santa Clara County continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, county leaders gathered virtually to summarize where the county is currently as a whole.
Newly-elected Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Mike Wasserman gave the State of the County address on Monday, as the county records more than 109,000 reported COVID cases.
“Like last year, 2021 is no easy time to lead,” said Wasserman.
But despite the ongoing battle to get the coronavirus under control, Wasserman reassures that the state of the county is “strong and resilient.”
“It is strong because of the people, the non-profits, and the businesses that put our collective health before their own,” said Wasserman.
“Because of the brave healthcare workers who give up days off, much-needed sleep and their own well being to care for complete strangers.”
Due to the impacts of the pandemic, the county is also facing an uphill battle with significant budget reductions.
As a result, Wasserman says the county is facing a shortfall of at least $100 million, “which thanks to our county executive and his team have resulted in very few layoffs.”
Slow vaccine rollout
More than once throughout the address, Wasserman mentions the challenges the county faces with its vaccine distribution efforts.
To ramp up vaccine distributions efforts, the county announced it was opening up the state’s largest vaccination site at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara a few weeks prior.
“We are dramatically challenged by state and federal systems and policies that have thus far restricted the funds and vaccines we are fully prepared to utilize and administer,” said Wasserman.
“If we were given as many vaccines as we and our partners are prepared to give out,” Wasserman added.
“We can easily vaccinate 100,000 residents a week.”
At the beginning of the year, county leaders announced a goal to vaccinate 85% of the eligible population by August 1 — a total of more than 1.3 million county residents.
It’s a goal Wasserman says the county is equipped to achieve.
“We can do this if given many more vaccines,” said Wasserman.
“As of February 15th, we and our partners have administered more than a quarter of a million first doses.”
County to allow outdoor activities
Recent COVID rates have been declining and as a result, county officials announced they will be updating the County’s Mandatory Health Officer Directives to allow for a broader range of outdoor activities, including social and recreational outdoor activity, youth sports, performing arts, and enrichment activities.
In addition, the changes will allow all activities authorized under the state order which includes youth and recreational adult sports to proceed.
“2021 fills me with optimism,” said Wasserman.
“We are determined as a Board of Supervisors, as a government organization of 20,000 hard-working people, and a community of two million people to move forward and to overcome the adversities we face.”