This afternoon, Santa Clara County Public Health officials held a rare Saturday event to inform the public of rapidly rising COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations throughout the county.
Health Officer and Director of Public Health Dr. Sara Cody was joined at the podium at 1pm by County Counsel James R. Williams and other local healthcare leaders.
They revealed that just today, in Santa Clara County, there were 760 confirmed new COVID cases…and these were based off of tests taken before Thanksgiving.
In addition, COVID-related hospitalizations have increased to 239. That number has about doubled since November 12, when there were just 110 COVID-related hospitalizations.
Dr. Cody expressed concern that hospitals would soon reach their capacity if the trend continues. Of the 239 hospitalizations, 71 patients are in the ICU.
“This pandemic is like a high-speed train and our projections tell us that we are on target to derail by around the third week of December if we don’t apply brakes right now with all our collective might,” said Dr. Cody.
Capacity limits for indoor facilities. Grocery stores, drug stores, and pharmacies will be allowed to operate at 25% capacity, while other stores and facilities will be allowed to operate at 10%.
A maximum of 100 people for outdoor gatherings. Note that outdoor gatherings are limited to First Amendment-protected activities like protests and religious services.
Professional, collegiate, and youth sports recreational activities temporarily prohibited. These are activities that involve contact with anyone outside of the household. However, outdoor recreation/athletics can continue if social distancing can be practiced.
Cardrooms are temporarily closed.
Hotels and other kinds of lodging facilities can only be used for essential travel. They can also be used for the purpose of quarantining/isolation.
Leisure and non-essential travel are strongly discouraged. If people are traveling back to the County from a distance of greater than 150 miles, they will need to quarantine for 14 days upon their return. (Only healthcare workers who need to provide care and patients traveling to receive treatment are exempt.)
Though Dr. Cody stressed that there would be no new shelter-in-place order, she encouraged everyone to stay home as much as possible.
Nationwide, officials have braced themselves for the negative outcomes of widespread Thanksgiving travel. With a disease incubation period of two weeks, the anticipated post-Thanksgiving spike is expected to be grave. Even prior to the holiday, with cooling temperatures and higher amounts of indoor gatherings, COVID-19 numbers were quickly on the rise.
The measures advised since the pandemic’s start remain just as if not more relevant today: regular hand-washing, dutiful mask-wearing, social distancing, and staying home as much as possible.