With a surge in Covid-19 infections on pace to overwhelm local hospitals, South Bay health officials implored the public to avoid gatherings, forgo holiday travel and otherwise abide by pandemic safety protocols to stem the tide.
“As we head into the holiday season, the way to show family, friends and fellow Santa Clara County residents that you care about them is to not hold large gatherings with them that can easily spread the virus,” Board of Supervisors President Cindy Chavez said. “We are reaching a tipping point with Covid-19 numbers and we need to change course now.”
Only 68 ICU beds remain in the whole county, officials said.
On Tuesday, the county recorded its highest single-day case count with 512 new Covid-19 infections. It also saw its highest number of hospitalizations, with 197 patients receiving care from the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and private healthcare providers.
“Our hospitals are hurting at this point,” said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, who’s in charge of the county’s coronavirus testing efforts.
The more people protect themselves and their families, he added, the less likely hospitals will reach capacity. “The ability for our hospitals to care for the most critical patients is a critical concern when dealing with Covid-19,” he said.
Meanwhile, the county’s fire department and pandemic enforcement team will be out in full force, checking on businesses to make sure they’re complying with capacity and distancing protocols. From Thanksgiving Day through the rest of the weekend, the county will waive its usual grace period for fines. “Businesses have a legal, ethical, and moral obligation to protect their employees and the public,” said Michael Balliet, the county’s director of Community and Business Engagement.