Santa Clara County PR Chief Sickened by COVID-19

A Santa Clara County employee was one of 39 new local cases to test positive today for COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed diagnoses to 302.

María Leticia Gómez, the county’s director of communications and public affairs, fell sick on March 13 and received the results of her coronavirus test today. According to a county news release sent to reports this evening, she has been at home under quarantine since she first displayed any symptoms and is “doing well.”

“We are providing this detailed information about Ms. Gómez as she has agreed for the county to share her health status with the media and the public,” the press release stated.

The county has told all employees, including those who have been in contact with Gómez, that they should stay home if they show any symptoms. Health officials are also notifying anyone who crossed paths with her that they, too, may have been exposed to the virus.

“It is not unexpected to have employees become ill as the novel coronavirus continues spreading throughout the community,” the county announcement read. “The county has protocols in place to address this and similar situations involving employees who become ill.  These protocols include: asking employees to stay home if they show any symptoms, reporting any symptoms that develop during working hours, asking non-essential employees to work from home, maintaining sufficient social distancing in the workplace, and consistently using excellent hygiene and cleaning practices.”

The county urged other employers to develop similar protocols and plans as COVID-19 continues to circulate in the region.

Including Gómez, the number of positive COVID-19 cases rose by 111 percent since Saturday and 154 percent from the day before that. As of today, 10 people have died in this county—the ninth a woman in her 60s and the 10th a woman in her 40s.

“This increased case count is not unexpected given community transmission, an increase in provider reporting, and growing testing capacity through the commercial market,” county officials explained in a press release about the latest stats.

As the number of confirmed COVID-19 patients hospitalized in this county reached 108 today, officials began equipping the Santa Clara Convention Center for overflow beds to ease the burden on the local healthcare system.

With federally provided surge capacity in the convention center, Valley Med Chief Medical Office Paul Lorenz said the county should have 2,500 ICU beds.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez spoke about the efforts to expand hospital surge capacity in a Facebook Live Stream, which you can watch below.

Today I spoke with a Paul Lorenz, the chief operating officer at County of Santa Clara, California ‘s Valley Medical Center about how our hospitals & medical system will handle the increase of coronavirus patientsThis weekend the state and federal government dropped off a temporary federal medical station at the San Clara Convention Center. It comes equipped with 248 beds, supplies & staff and will help to free up beds in hospitals throughout the county for coronavirus patients. Paul Lorenz says right now the county has approximately 2,500-plus beds, 400 pediatric beds, 350 ICU critical care with a capacity increase of 290 additional beds. Please stay informed & listen to our discussion.

Posted by Cindy Chavez on Sunday, March 22, 2020

One Comment

  1. The county told employees that they should stay home if they had contact with Gomez only “if they show any symptoms”. WRONG! By then those people who later show symptoms have already infected others. Idiotic advice like that will insure unnecessary additional spreading of the virus. The county should have told everyone who came within six feet contact of Ms. Gómez to immediately self isolate for 14 days.

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