SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – There are fears hospitals in areas hit hardest by the virus are running low on ICU beds and could reach capacity by mid-December.

At the same time, officials reported some progress in planning for the arrival and distribution of a vaccine. 

Health officials offered few specifics but said they have submitted a plan for vaccination protocols once the vaccine arrives.  

They are working on logistics and said the plan will be posted on the county’s web site soon.  

More concerning, they say, is the rising number of hospitalizations and getting the public to cooperate with tighter health orders.   

“The answer I have for you today is that number is evolving,” Dr. Jennifer Tong at Valley Medical Center said. 

Health officials on Wednesday reporting progress in setting up distribution plans for COVID-19 vaccine but could not say which vaccine might arrive first or how much will be available.

“Many countries and states and counties want access to vaccines, and like everyone else we will receive a limited supply at first, more will be coming over time,” Tong said. 

Dr. Tong said health care and other front line workers would be the first to get vaccinated.  

Officials said it could take “many months” before the county has sufficient quantities of vaccine for all who may need it.  

In the meantime, officials said they are extremely worried about running out of hospital beds amid rising infections.

“As of December 1, ICU occupancy among hospitals, traditionally serving the South County in the east part of San Jose, their ICU occupancy was at 93-percent,” Tong said. 

Hospitals serving those areas have no more than five ICU beds available.  

It’s hoped newly imposed restrictions such as reducing retail store capacity, a ban on contact sports that forced the 49ers and collegiate teams out of the county, and a 14-day quarantine order impacting people who traveled more than 150 miles away for Thanksgiving will help stem the tide of infection.

“As we know that that volume of mixing of households in the surge in cases across the United States could really be an accelerant leading to much additional growth in cases, and therefore, serious illnesses and hospitalizations,” James Williams, Santa Clara County Counsel, said.

As for the vaccination distribution plan, the county says it will be available on the county’s website soon.

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