COVID Patients in California Hospitals Have Doubled, Santa Clara County Growth Is Slower

Propelled by the Delta variant and large numbers of unvaccinated people, COVID-19 patients are flooding California hospitals at a rate not seen since last winter’s surge.

Hospitalizations statewide have almost doubled in the past two weeks, while reported hospitalizations in Santa Clara County have grown more slowly, according to state public health data.

Hospitalizations are indicators of the breadth and severity of the COVID-19 spread.

In Santa Clara County, the 7-day average of the number of patients with the disease grew from 79 to 133 from July 24 to Aug.7, an increase of 68%. Statewide, 5,358 people were hospitalized with the disease on Sunday, compared to 2,781 on July 24, according to the state.

In six of the nine Bay Area counties, hospitalization rates more than doubled in the last two weeks. Only Sonoma County, with a 44% increase, reported growth rates lower than Santa Clara County. San Mateo County reported a 135% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, and San Francisco reported a 121% increase.

Santa Clara County released a new data dashboard on Aug.4, breaking out COVID-19 case rates by vaccination status. The latest county numbers reflect what public health officials have been echoing in recent weeks: The Delta variant is fueling a surge in cases and the unvaccinated are at the highest risk of infections.

“As of August 4, the data show a stark difference in how the latest wave is affecting those who have not been vaccinated versus those who have – with positive cases among the unvaccinated nearly four times higher than those fully vaccinated,” county health officials repo

Hospitalizaton rates for COVID-19 are growing across California. CalMatters graphic.

rted. The case rate per 100,000 county residents for the unvaccinated has jumped from about 3 to more than 25 over the past month. The case rate among the vaccinated, while also increasing in recent weeks, is not experiencing as steep of a spike.

“Vaccines are still excellent at protecting against serious illness and death. They also provide significant protection against infection, though perhaps not quite as effective against the Delta variant,” said Dr. George Han, County of Santa Clara Deputy Health Officer. “To protect those who are not yet eligible for vaccination, such as children, and people who are elderly or immunocompromised, we need everyone who can get a vaccine to do so now. Additionally, wearing masks indoors will help minimize the spike in community transmission.”

As of this week, 84% of Santa Clara County residents age 12 and older had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and roughly 78% have completed their vaccination. “Santa Clara County has among the highest vaccination rates in the nation, but it remains critical that more individuals get vaccinated to further protect the community, particularly children, the elderly, and people who are immunocompromised,” said Han.

Hospitals in all California counties are experiencing worrisome surges in hospitalization rates, and vaccination rates continue to lag

Santa Cruz, Tuolumne, Lake, Butte, Tulare, Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo counties saw a 200% or more increase in the 7-day average number of hospitalizations between July 24 and Aug. 7, according to a CalMatters analysis. In Santa Cruz County, COVID-19 hospitalizations rose from 3 to 14 patients in the past two weeks. The county on Monday reported its first two deaths attributed to the virus since May, both patients in their 70s. The vast majority of hospitalized patients in Santa Cruz County are unvaccinated, said Dr. Gail Newel, the county’s health officer.

Dr. Michael Vollmer of Kaiser Permanente said he saw the surge coming as hospitalization rates “doubled and doubled again” in the massive health care system.

“It’s obviously frustrating,” said Vollmer, an infectious disease specialist and regional epidemiologist for Kaiser Permante’s Northern California region. “If we’ve learned anything, it’s that we have to remain humble throughout this pandemic.”

New cases have spiked particularly at hospitals in communities with lower vaccination rates, Vollmer said, and patients are skewing younger as many older Californians have been immunized.

If the current trends continue, public health officials said hospitals may once again need to cancel elective surgeries and take other steps, like speeding patient triage to avoid temporary closures of overcrowded emergency rooms.

Kaiser Permanente has already postponed a small number of elective surgeries depending on patient loads and staffing, but has not done so systemwide, Vollmer said.

Del Norte, the state’s northernmost county — which already has minimal intensive care units to begin with — had zero ICU beds available as of Sunday, state data showed. The county is home to about 28,000 people.

Yuba, Tuolumne and Placer counties in the Central Valley have the highest per capita hospitalizations. (CalMatters’ analysis excludes counties with fewer than 50,000 people, such as Del Norte and Amador, because of their small sample size.)

“Our staff is disheartened to see our community weathering another COVID-19 surge, especially since vaccines that could have prevented this surge in hospitalizations are widely available,” a spokesperson with Adventist Health Sonora in Tuolumne County said in an email Monday.

“It’s true that Adventist Health Sonora staff are worn out, having gone above and beyond over the last 17 months of frontline pandemic response, but they remain well-prepared to care for our community, with ample supplies and experience gained over the course of the pandemic.”

Newel said she, too, is concerned about exhausted hospital workers who were just starting to take much-needed time off this summer.

“Staffing isn’t at optimal levels at any of the hospitals (in the county). We’re watching the situation closely,” she said.

In a letter last week, Dr. Carl Schultz, Orange County’s emergency services medical director, told local hospitals that they were closing their emergency rooms for too long, forcing ambulances to drive around seeking an open bed. Five hospitals closed their emergency rooms longer than an hour in a single 24-hour period. “This is not sustainable,” he wrote.

California’s per capita rate of hospitalizations — surging from about 7 per 100,000 people two weeks ago to about 14 now — is substantially lower than the national rate of 19 per 100,000. But it’s higher than the rate in 29 states, including New York, Michigan and Ohio.

“If we can get people to mask indoors, get tested when they feel sick and emphasize vaccination…we should see hospitalizations peak over the next week or two,” said Vollmer.

In Los Angeles County, the 7-day average has doubled, reaching 1,326 hospitalized people on Sunday.

Amador, in the Sierra Nevada region, has a hospitalization rate similar to its peak last December. More than half of the cases are among people younger than 50, and the youngest patient is in their 30s, county officials said in a news release last week.

In Yuba County — which takes patients from smaller, neighboring counties that don’t have their own hospitals — the hospitalization rate was 46.1 per 100,000 people as of Sunday. It was the second highest in the state, shooting up 81% in two weeks.

Health officials said the uptick is a result of more people traveling and socializing after the state’s June 15 reopening. Recent Yuba County infections have been traced to gatherings where the majority of participants were unmasked and unvaccinated, according to Meghan Marshall, the county’s Health and Human Services deputy director.

While cases and hospitalizations are rising in this fourth wave, deaths have remained mostly stable.

On Friday, 33 people died from COVID in California, according to state officials. The 7-day average was 0.04 deaths per 100,000 people on Sunday, similar to about a month ago.

Barbara Feder Ostrov and Ana B. Ibarra are reporters with CalMatters. San Jose Inside contributed to this report.


  1. JoeBiden’s FAILING immigration policies (ie OPEN BORDERs) have been the nation’s biggest COVID SUPER SPREADER Event – over 1 MILLION illegal aliens were apprehended illegally crossing the US-Mexico Border this year. Record breaking levels of Illegal Crossings – 21-year high.

    Over 7,000 COVID Pos illegal aliens were released throughout the US in the last 6 months – and not all are tested.
    “More than 1,500 COVID-Positive were released in 1 week into one Texas border town”

    07Aug2021: DHS reports “More than 18% of migrant families and 20% of unaccompanied minors who recently crossed the U.S. border tested positive for Covid on leaving Border Patrol custody over the past 2-3 weeks…”

    03Aug2021: CBP stopped 6,725 migrants Illegally crossing into the U.S., according to internal data obtained by NBC News, keeping with the daily pace of July, which saw 210,000 total apprehensions, a 21-year high.

  2. “the nation’s biggest COVID SUPER SPREADER Event…” — Ca Patriot

    And what were those COVID positives doing prior to being apprehended? Riding in crowded trucks and buses, sleeping in close quarters, and huddling together in hiding places with fellow illegals (likely ten times more numerous in number) who crossed the border and escaped capture (and accounting). An accurate depiction of the hundreds of thousands caravanning north to our border would be “the world’s biggest chickenpox party.”

    Biden’s border fiasco is the masked and socially-distanced elephant in any room (or forum) in which the pandemic is discussed. It doesn’t matter if it’s Drooling Joe, Forked-Tongued Fauci, or any of the other incompetent bastards preaching us to ruin, the administration’s border policy renders their every COVID warning moot, and reveals it as quite sinister (a crew is not serious about trying to keep a ship afloat if they’ve opened a hole in the hull, no matter what they tell the passengers). Biden’s saboteurs are more than willing to let massive numbers of American citizens die so they can get the demographics they need to quash our precious liberties.

  3. Certain cultures eschew masks and other health and safety measures, and where it’s coincident with overcrowding of housing, you have much more risk added.

  4. Sky is falling again. Time to shut down the churches, restaurants, bars and schools for the little people. No kids sports for another year. High end restaurants and parties for existing and former political leaders are exempted from restrictions.

    As an aside, what a surprise, the leaky masks have failed us again….

  5. Bless your heart StevenG: you seem like the perfect pawn for propaganda.. Keep Believing..
    – “the Surge Is Normal”.. when it’s setting records.
    – “Border influx – Not A Crisis..”
    – “.. the Border Is Closed and we enforce the laws that Congress has passed..”
    – “..most illegal crossers are being turned back”
    – “..we have seen Extreme Progress over the last few months” at the border.
    Even the failing NYTs reports:
    “In California’s Imperial Valley…15% of the migrants released by the Border Patrol into the community between April 7 and April 13 tested POSITIVE for the virus – 3x higher than the official average, according to the California Department of Social Services.”

    “Migrants who have a POS result are transferred to a shelter operated by the city. Others spend 1-2 nights the respite center and then Board Planes or Buses to their destinations around the United States.
    Some of them could well have infections contracted in Border Patrol facilities that did NOT register on tests during the brief time they spent at the respite center, immigrant advocates warned,
    and could unknowingly Expose Others as they travel to join friends and family elsewhere in the country.”

    “People who were on the bus or in the cell with people who tested COVID POS are going to test positive,” said Mark Lane, who runs a small humanitarian organization in San Diego…
    “Uber drivers, taxi drivers and people like us, people who are not fully vaccinated, are getting exposed.
    Today I took two guys who were released and put them in a T.S.A. line with 500 people on it.”

    “Andrea Rudnik, whose nonprofit organization, provides aid to a hotel for coronavirus isolation in Brownsville, Texas, said many migrants who Tested Positive had DISAPPEARED before their Mandatory Separation Period was up.”
    “They want to leave,” she said, “and if they realize, ‘Hey, I can just take a taxi from this hotel back to the bus station and get out of there,’ then they’ll do it.”

  6. Looks like long term trouble with more closures, endless ‘variants’, trillions in needless spending, tens of thousands flooding through the border who refuse vaccination and inflation rearing it’s ugly head. Hope we survive.

  7. Lol, looks like someone is getting caught up in Covid Panic-Porn and click-bait journalism..
    Delta, Tri-Delta, Delta Gamma, Lambda, Kappa Delta.. might be time for movie night –
    ‘Animal House’ style.
    Just remember..
    Panicked, Hopeless, and Fearful is no way to go through life, son.

    “..Vaccination is widely available in the United States and the unvaccinated have chosen that status. They’ve made their own decisions and assumed the resulting dangers, just like people who smoke, eat too much, ride motorcycles, or go rock-climbing.”

    “COVID-19 has been an unpleasant ordeal for the entire planet, but perhaps not so awful as the Policies Inflicted on us in the name of public health.
    It’s time to move beyond pandemic panic to rebuild our prosperity, raise our kids, and reclaim our freedom.
    If the control freaks don’t like that, well, they’re another affliction we can do without.”

  8. Thank you for being here CA PATRIOT and thank you for not using all caps.

    On another thought, that other guy who writes here to drown out real discussion writes in ALL CAPS and it hurts my eyes so I can’t really read it. I try to just skim by and everyone else should also. I did see he’s now claiming that somehow I caused the delta, lambda, and other viruses to “beat vaccines”. He’s definitely giving a dummy like me a lot of credit. Somehow I can now “beat vaccines” whatever that nonsensical statement even means.

  9. PHU TAN ELLI, I don’t really read the idiotic rantings by the “ALL CAPS” clown.
    It does seem for him the 4+ years of Biased Media conditioning..
    continual Gaslighting and Hyping the “IF THIS STORY IS TRUE” hit piece click-bait article,
    He may be suffering from a Chronic case of TDS..

    For some folks Brainwashing takes awhile to DETOX..
    But for some there is NO Return to Normalcy…
    Luckily he is just “shooting” off with his keyboard..

  10. I looked at the SCC dashboards and the profile for the number of cases in Santa Clara county so far looks exactly like it did last year at this time with regard to people testing positive and number of tests. Deaths are a lot less than last year thankfully. Just why are we panicking again? Seems to be more of a seasonal thing we once again have no control over.

  11. It would be SO helpful to readers to not just give the percentage increase, but the actual number of patients. There is a big difference between 10 patients to 20 patients – compared to 100 patients to 200 patients.

    Also, of course Santa Clara County is doing better – we have a high vaccine rate and did everything we could do at this point. It’s time to move on! We did it, and don’t need the mandates.

  12. It would also be a service to focus some of the stats on children, too. There is a renewed hysteria across the country, and people mixing up COVID for RSV or kids in the hospital have both, and doctors report RSV is what is causing the hospital visits, not COVID. Rates of RSV and other illnesses in kids will rise this year, and have been, because of how we kept kids away from each-other for so long.

    Like journalists need to ask more questions and stop just accepting everything these public health officials are saying because when real journalism is done, there are a lot more layers. I have one kid in daycare who has been there since February and there have literally been ZERO issues. ZERO. A 100+ kids from many households in one location. Stop the fear mongering!!!

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