Santa Clara County Reports Three More COVID-19 Deaths, Unveils Data on Race, Ethnicity

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.

(Table via Santa Clara County Public Health Department)

“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.

Grace Hase is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @grace_hase. Or, click here to sign up for text updates about what she’s working on.

28 Comments

  1. > 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.”

    Is Dr. Jones suggesting that there is a genetic element in the susceptibility of “people of color” to coronavirus?

    It doesn’t sound like she is ruling out a genetic explanation.

    Is she suggesting that coronavirus is ethnically selective like sickle cell anemia or Tay-Sachs disease?

    Is she obliquely warming people to increase their “social distancing” from black people to avoid coronavirus?

  2. 50 people have died of the virus in Santa Clara county, 4 percent of them are black – that’s 2 people. 18 Hispanics have died instead of 12 that would be representative of the population – 6 people above the average. And you call this overrepresentation?

    Aside from that, is it possible to approach a topic without draping it in the popular liberal viewpoint that every bad thing is due to racism? I find it disgusting that pretentious social justice halfwits cannot pause from preaching their opinions to simply work together and stop people from dying.

    You should be ashamed of yourself.

    • The count of cases of Black and Hispanic citizen is completely askew! How can the Asians, Indians and whites are completely left out of this tally… why? This virus is based on age just like the flu, pneumonia and or poor health not every Black or Hispanic have poor health! If that is the case then everyone from the continent of Asia is spreading the COVID-19 virus, or the vapers, opioid addicted, meth heads are all white! Who is keeping track of Black and Hispanic deliberately? Always consider the source! Please stay safe and at home?

  3. Really Grace,
    Is there nothing going on in the world that you can’t blame racisms, sexism, or hemophobia, on white people?

  4. Everyone should stop looking at race, because the true count will ALWAYS be askew. There is a hang Asian and Indian and white base herein NORCAL… who is keeping track of them?

    • STAY AT HOME PEOPLE! If you have health, there is hope. Every pandemic hits the rich where it hurst the most, their money! This is God’s reordering. It happens every 100 years or so because the same stupidity is repeated! God gives the power and take it away! The state should start gradual reopening by the end of May. State and international travel should be banned until the end of August. International travel banned for longer. California is reaching its peak by the third week of this month. Thus an extra month is needed to fully recovered and be safe. Other parts of the country are at different stages. China is reporting new cases. For this, state and international travel need longer travel regulations.

  5. The count of cases of Black and Hispanic citizen is completely askew! How can the Asians, Indians and whites are completely left out of this tally… why? This virus is based on age just like the flu, pneumonia and or poor health not every Black or Hispanic have poor health! If that is the case then everyone from the continent of Asia is spreading the COVID-19 virus, or the vapers, opioid addicted, meth heads are all white! Who is keeping track of Black and Hispanic deliberately? Always consider the source! Please stay safe and at home?

  6. Grace, I find your piece ignorant and not news! The virus is not unmasking anything. All this was obvious obvious before. The Latino and Black community typically take lower paid jobs and those no others want to take. This is in part to economically disadvantage and so the reality of taking on jobs that put them at higher risks. Some of these Latinos for example many of whom I know, work for big construction and sanitation companies even when being undocumented. The have left worst conditions in their places of origin, so they take the challenge with gratitude of having a job. Asians including Middle Eastern Asians come to this county with student and other type if visas, legal and ilegal. When they arrive, they already have strong connections to securing a better job than other people in this county. They are the majority in this county. It is more likely than not the majority of the 900+ positive cases are Asians. Some researchers already speculate the virus was here since December. This may not be revealed as a way to not feed on the racist tendencies of those who blame Asians from the virus. It is those economically disadvantaged and in poor health that will die the most from this. The China communist regime is to blame for the spread around the globe not the Chinese people. In United States politicians and the media keep playing the left and right game they always play. People deserve data integrity. The Shelter in Place is also a privilege not all can afford. Those that were living pay check after pay check go to work to their “essential” job positions and to spend hours in long food bank lines. They will be the first to go back to their full-time jobs so offices will be ready for the other workforce. How is this an unmasking situation? Where have you lived all this time? I know one of those who died. She was a female and a Latina. Also, stop destroying the Spanish language with the “Latinx” thing. Should we say plazx instead of plaza, caminx instead of camino, Mexicx instead of Mexico, and Chinx instead of China? If you are interested in showing respect to the Hispanic or Latino population, drop the Latinx thing which they consider an assault to their language. The watch dog of the government has disappeared! What we have now is the CNN and FOX news puppies’ mentality. This is a time to work together to stop the fire destroying lives, communities, and economies and not a time to add more to the problem. We deserve serious reporting not repeats of what it is already there!

  7. Cool Nurse, it is important to know who has had the most access to testing compared to those who are dying. I am sure the Black and Latino communities are not among those tested the most. The same is true for the general low SES population and the homeless. The lack of social justice and equal opportunity were part of the Santa Clara County Google land status way before the COVID-19.

  8. Because Racism? That’s the best you can do to provide useful data and facts to your readership?

    The age of people treated and even deceased was not mentioned. Why?

    From what I understand, and like flue epidemics since the dawn of civilization, the age of the victim is a key factor in determining the severity of this virus.

    Do you have any data that covers this?

    If you do and you didn’t provide that to your readers then you are a pathetic journalist who is nothing more than a useful idiot in service of whomever owns your contract.

    If you don’t have the data then you wrote a story that has ZERO usefulness to the public and you ought to be ashamed of yourself.
    Somehow, I don’t think you are capable of anything like shame or remorse for your actions.

    • William, I’ve extensively reported on other factors including other risk factors and age. I reported on race and ethnicity in this story because this was data that was recently released by the county. You’re more than welcome to check out our previous coverage or visit the county’s website to learn more about those other metrics: https://www.sccgov.org/sites/phd/DiseaseInformation/novel-coronavirus/Pages/dashboard.aspx

      As for your “because racism?” accusation, I’m not arguing anything. I’m simply presenting the data. It’s been widely reported and researched that people of color are dying at higher rates. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/apr/12/coronavirus-us-deep-south-poverty-race-perfect-storm

      • Grace:

        Your report quotes (apparently approvingly) Harvard “visiting fellow” Dr. Camara Jones who clearly blames “racism” as the cause of something or other. Well, not just something or other but “all things”:: “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.”

        I would characterize Dr. Jones explanation as a subjective, “social science” explanation.

        I modestly tried to suggest that there might be actual REAL science explanations for the ethnic disparity based on the SCIENCE of genetics, which is based on biology, biochemistry, physics, medicine, and other “hard sciences”.

        Perhaps you could have cited a source who would offer a perspective founded on real science.

        Even though “social science” and “political science” have “science” in their names, they’re really not “science”.

        Dr. Jones’ explanation smacks of A.) science denial, and B.) identity politics.

      • C’mon, Grace. You are doing both alot more and alot less than just presenting data. You “frame” the data with a quote from Pro Publica saying it’s all racism,and don’t provide another perspective. So you implicitly lead readers to that conclusion, accepting those opinions at face value. Also. you never acknowledge that the data you are presenting is a very small sample size, has not been validated,and that serious statisticians would never draw broad conclusions from it. This isn’t journalism. It’s agenda journalism. And that’s your right, but don’t jive us that it’s something else.

  9. The most important factors for mortality are age and pre existing health conditions.

    The author wishes us to believe that somehow racism is to blame for this.

    Why is it that the age of those who are deceased have not been shared?

    Does the author have that information?

    Nowhere in this piece is this mentioned.

    Why?

  10. Not one mention of the most important factor in ANY kind of flu.

    Do we not know the ages of those who have died?

    Why is that not as important as your ‘This is racist’ line of garbage?

    Seriously, this is what passes for journalism in this county?

  11. No mention at all of the most significant factor in the mortality of this virus.

    Is the author not curious as to what this is?

    Obviously this is not any kind of useful information.

    But, I’m beginning to see that’s not the point of this whole charade.

  12. Scientific question:

    Does science allow for the possibility that persons of different “races” or “ethnicities” will have different skin colors?

    Yes or no.

    For extra credit:

    Does science allow for the possibility that persons of different “races” or “ethnicities” will be be differently affected by a disease?

    Yes or no.

    You’re not against asking scientific questions, are you?

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