Santa Clara County health officials reported three more COVID-19-related deaths on Friday afternoon, bringing the local death toll up to 50.
Forty-two more people have also tested positive for the highly contagious virus, placing the total number of confirmed cases at 1,484.
Earlier this week, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department began reporting out more data than ever before on its novel coronavirus dashboard. The site now discloses how many cases are in each city. As of Friday, San Jose saw the most number of cases with 986, while Los Altos Hills had the least with just five.
“With various levels of testing in different communities, the city-level data do not necessarily represent the level of spread in these cities,” Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said in a press release. “Whether there are three confirmed cases or 100 hundred confirmed cases in any given city, we must behave as if the virus is everywhere, because it is.”
County health officials are now also reporting the ethnicity and race of those who have died of COVID-19. So far, African-Americans and Latinos are overrepresented in the number of deaths. African-Americans make up 2.8 percent of the population of Santa Clara County, yet have accounted for 4.26 percent of deaths, according to census data. Hispanic and Latinx people make up 25.3 percent of the county, but have accounted for 36.17 percent of COVID-19 deaths.
“COVID is just unmasking the deep disinvestment in our communities, the historical injustices and the impact of residential segregation,” Dr. Camara Jones, a family physician, epidemiologist and visiting fellow at Harvard, told ProPublica last week. “This is the time to name racism as the cause of all of those things. The overrepresentation of people of color in poverty and white people in wealth is not just a happenstance.”
Santa Clara County health officials also revealed on Friday the number of COVID-19 cases in long-term care facilities, which includes nursing, assisted living, independent living and board and care facilities. As of April 9, there were 164 confirmed cases in those facilities, with 50 of those being among staff members.
“Protecting patients in long-term care and skilled nursing facilities is a specific, focused area of our work,” county Assistant Health Officer Dr. Sarah Rudman said statement. “We have specialized teams dedicated to providing guidance to long-term care facilities, investigating potential cases, and providing comprehensive and intensive interventions where needed to stop the spread of COVID-19, to protect residents and patients.”
The presence of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities has become a major concern across the U.S., as they care for people who have multiple underlying health conditions and are at high risk of dying from the virus. In Kings County, Washington, a long-term care facility became the epicenter of the spread and lead to the death of at least 40 individuals.
Santa Clara County issued guidance last week for moving patients between hospitals and long-term care facilities that includes limiting visitors and only accepting COVID-19 patients if it’s been previously approved by the health department.