BREAKING: Santa Clara Co. Reports 8,246 COVID Tests as Stanford Passes 10,000 Mark

It took a while, but Santa Clara County finally disclosed the number of total COVID-19 tests that have been conducted by public and private labs alike.

To date, 8,246 people have undergone testing, according to a new dashboard quietly rolled out by the county tonight. Of that number, 7,138 of them returned negative and 152 are still awaiting results. That makes for a test positivity rate of 11.59 percent.

The newly reported figure comes as Stanford Health Care tells San Jose Inside that it exceeded 10,000 tests—although it’s unclear how many involved local patients.

Here’s a look at the new testing data published by the county Public Health Department.

On March 22, local public health officials reported that only 647 people had been tested by the county-run lab. With private groups such as Quest Diagnostics and Stanford Health Care also conducting tests for the new, highly infectious strain of coronavirus, the number didn’t provide a full look at just how far the virus has spread.

A few days later, on March 24, six Bay Area counties and the city of Berkeley joined together in enacting a mandate that requires private labs to report their numbers, too.

“We receive all of our test kits from the CDC,” the Santa Clara County’s FAQ on testing explains. “The number of patients we can test is much less than the number of test kits. This is because some tests are used as controls, and multiple samples may be submitted for each patient to ensure accurate results. The lab is not structured, physically and otherwise, to scale to commercial-volume testing.”

Also tonight, the county shared some new hospitalization stats after a prolonged lapse in disclosure. According to the batch of statistics posted late in the evening, 198 people are hospitalized for the novel coronavirus in this county with 90 of them in ICU beds.

At a Tuesday afternoon news conference, County Executive Jeff Smith said that only 52 ICU beds were occupied by COVID-19 patients. There are now 1,028 hospital beds available in the county’s 11 hospitals—92 of them in an ICU.

In all, the county says it has 619 ventilators, 227 of which are now in use. Just a day earlier, Smith had reported that 209 ventilators in use. The county expects a shipment of 500 additional ventilators in the coming weeks.

The new dashboard also reports that the county has a hospital surge capacity of 1,461 beds, with five now in use. Some of those spots have been set up at in an overflow facility at the Santa Clara Convention Center for patients who aren’t well enough to go home, but not so sick that they need acute care.

Last but not least, the latest info on the confirmed-case dashboard brings the total number to 956, with 66 new diagnoses reported in the past day.

Jennifer Wadsworth is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth. Or, click here to sign up for text updates about what she’s working on.

13 Comments

  1. So: We had 32 deaths among 8246 tested. That’s 0.38%. Think about it: That’s a 0.38% death rate from a self-selecting group of people who felt sick enough to want to get tested. It was not drawn from a random sample of the 2 million residents of the county.

    Just imagine how much lower the rate would be if we tested more broadly/randomly. The fatality rate might be lower than the flu.

    And yet, the county leadership issued the strictest order in the country, bringing societal, social and economic devastation. The leadership apparently could not resist playing God.

    The county leadership failed everyone. This is no different from what happened after 9/11: In the race to react, and with bad information under impulsive leadership that assured us it knew what it was doing, the country plunged into a war whose after-effects are still felt.

    I would have expected far more from our progressive, smart county and its leaders, but we’ve now done the same thing, and dragged the country down with us. Shame on you, Santa Clara. Shame on you, Board of Supervisors for letting the leadership get away with this.

    • Numbers Gal, I’m afraid you are grossly misinformed. The 8246 number is the total number of test performed. Of that, 956 confirmed positive, and 32 dead, that’s 3.3%.

      I agree that there are more uncounted cases, but there is very accurate and complete statistics available. On the famous Diamond Princess Cruise ship, all the 3400 people on board were tested and 712 confirmed infected (including those without symptoms), and 11people already dead. That’s 1.5% fatality rate, but 82 people still in hospital, 15 are in critical condition.

      Scale that to the general population. For the population of Santa Clara county 1.9M, you will see 400k people positive, 50k in hospital, 8k dead. But that 1.5% fatality rate assumes every sick person gets full treatment. In reality though, our health system won’t have that capacity. According to this article, we only have 1500 beds and 700 ventilators, so if the above scenario with 50,000 people needed hospitalization and need a ventilator to stay alive, you will be short of 48,500 beds and without proper treatment large percentage of those people will die.

      That’s the scenario our county and state officials are trying to avoid. That’s what “flatten the curve” will do. You should be thankful to our county leaders, who issued shelter-in-place order relatively early, and we are not seen what’s happening in New York. If they had waited another week like N.Y., we would have been watching the same exact tragedy unfolding in front of us right now.

      • Chopin, you cannot discount the other 2,688 people on board the Diamond Princess. All of them were sitting onboard that infected ship for days before realizing it. Afterwards they were fed by the same crew members everyday who were going cabin to cabin, etc. So why didn’t the 2,688 other get it? If the R0 is 2.7 (+/-) as reported there should have been many more cases than just the 712. Especially if it’s airborne as is now being considered the case (hence the current mask debate).

        Perhaps the R0 is wrong?
        Perhaps some people are naturally immune? (there were literally couples locked in their rooms where one spouse got it and the other did not)
        Perhaps it has been around long enough that some people have already had it (mildly) and never knew it, thus becoming immune?
        Perhaps the virus has been here on the West Coast for close to 6 months and it has mostly run its course here. Spreading eastward heading to New York who is lagging behind us by a month or so?

        Whatever it is, there’s more to the story.

        • > Perhaps some people are naturally immune? (there were literally couples locked in their rooms where one spouse got it and the other did not)

          I suspect that there may be something to this.

          Even though COVID-19 is a “novel” virus, it is a mutant of an existing virus, for which many people may have developed immunity.

          My guess is that the COVID-19 virus may have many biochemical similarities with its “parent” virus which is carried forward as antigens to which many people are already immune.

          Therefore, the maximum proportion of the population that could be infected by coronavirus is not a hundred percent, but something less than that. Possibly, MUCH less than a hundred percent.

          The infection rate on one cruise ship was about nineteen percent. That could be pretty much the infection limit to which a population is susceptible. Or not. We don’t know yet.

      • > Numbers Gal, I’m afraid you are grossly misinformed.

        Thanks, Chopper.

        I’ve been looking for some correct and reliable information.

        Could you publish your contact information so people can get in touch with you when they need some accurate data.?

    • Yeah, no. We already have existence proofs such as Italy where the hospital systems get overrun and then the death rate climbs into near 8%… and that was only tamed because they then instituted an even more draconian shut down. The places that rapidly tested and tracked kept the outbreak from happening like Taiwan. The lax countries are tending towards the Italian experience. Your argument is close to an anti-vaxer: No one gets smallpox anymore! What a waste of time all those years of trying to eliminate it.

      • Sorry Blarry, you are mistaken. Several officials in Italy have publicly acknowledged that Italy counts their deaths differently than most of the rest of the world. Italy is not a good example in your case. Italian officials estimate that if they counted as we do their total would be about 12.5% of what is currently being reported.

  2. Just another artifact of the incompetence of Santa Clara County Government!
    Just look at our roads!
    Look at student academic achievement!
    Look at health care!
    Look at the wasteland called the County Fairgrounds!
    Look at the failure of the County Jail system!

    Government in Santa Clara County is just an opportunity for schmoozer politicians to steal for themselves, their families, and their friends!

    Get with rhe system people!

  3. I wanted to say “ Thank you!” to our county and state leadership even though I had to temporarily close my business due to the “Shelter in place” order.

    Our state and county doesn’t have to face the war like Italy, NY because your strong leadership and our residents flowed your order “stay home” .

    We cared about our community, we cared about our seniors.

    The lives, the public health are more more important than economy!! I believe we can win this war and back to normal life if we continue doing these right thing!

    • > How long does it take for 2 millions Santa Clara To be completed testing results?

      With the current testing technology, a LONG, LONG time.

      The testing machine costs $20,000 plus, the test takes 4-6 hours, and it requires an experienced lab technician to carefully and skillfully perform the test.

      You can’t buy a machine, they’re ALL sold out.

      You can’t make the test go any faster.

      You can’t hire any more experienced, careful, and skillful lab technicians. They’re all employed and working overtime.

      Having politicians make speeches and activists demand action ISN’T GOING TO MAKE THE TESTING GO ANY FASTER.

      According to the “dashboard” the amount of time to get a test result is currently around 2 and a half days.

      Five years ago, there was NO test for coronavirus, so no one knew they had it. Now there is a test, it takes two and a half days to get the results, and there are only enough tests for a few people.

      But there is a test!

      Stop whining and count your blessings. We live in a world of limits.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *