News

COVID-19 surge raises red flags in Santa Clara County

Health leaders urge people to vigilantly follow safety measures to keep the virus under control

Ashly Loibman receives a lower nasal swab test from registered nurse Maria Turner at a COVID-19 testing site in the Center for Performing Arts in Mountain View on Sept. 15. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Santa Clara County health leaders delivered a sobering message on Monday morning: COVID-19 cases in the county are starting to surge.

The sharper rise in cases in the last week comes after a slower drift upward in October, Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said during a press conference in San Jose. The trajectory is starting to look like other areas of the state and country, which have seen steep hikes, she said.

To keep the deadly coronavirus from spiraling out of control, the public and businesses must do everything that they can to follow safety protocols, including wearing masks, washing their hands and socially distancing themselves to try to slow the spread of the virus, she said.

"The sharp uptick in cases is a very worrisome sign in terms of what it will mean for our hospitals," Cody said, noting that the county is also seeing a rise in hospitalizations and could see a sharper spike as the number of cases continues to climb.

As of Nov. 9, the county has had a cumulative total of 26,747 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 264 of which were new, according to its online COVID-19 data. There have been 433 deaths since the pandemic began, including three that were announced Monday. There are currently 103 hospitalizations, 19 of which are new, according to the county's dashboard. People ages 18 to 34 are showing the most cases and county officials are monitoring cases between 25 to 29 year olds, Cody said.

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support Mountain View Online for as little as $5/month.

Learn more

Health leaders don't have a clear explanation of what's causing the surge, such as specific superspreader events. The rise does come nine days after Halloween. It's possible many people are developing "pandemic fatigue" and might be less careful about following local health protocols, she said.

The county's last sharp spike was in July. Restrictions and publicity helped bring the case numbers down. By the beginning of October, new positive cases had dropped to double digits per day; that number has now risen to triple digits, she said.

Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody explains a new county health order during a press conference in San Jose on July 2. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

A rise in hospitalization rates usually lags behind the number of positive cases, but the county is starting to see those numbers increase. The number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations had been about 80 per day. Over the weekend, more than 100 people were hospitalized, she said.

Cody said it will take everyone's effort to help bring the numbers down.

"What each of us (does) every day really matters to keep us from trending ourselves into the red and possibly purple tier," she said, noting that greater restrictions under the state's colored tiers could be instituted again if cases continue to rise.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Sign up

County Counsel James Williams said the public should also expect to see an orange check mark at businesses that have filed and submitted revised protocols they will follow for reopening their businesses safely under the state's orange tier rules.

"We do need it to be a community expectation and norm that people only go to places where they see that orange check mark," he said.

Karen Himmaugh rings up a customer's groceriers at Piazza's Fine Foods in Palo Alto on April 9. The store installed large pieces of Plexiglas that separate cashiers and customers. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Michael Balliet, head of the county's Emergency Operations Center business engagement branch, said staff have been actively engaging with businesses to help them be in compliance. His office has received 1,850 complaints or concerns about businesses and has assessed more than $600,000 in fines so far to habitually noncompliant businesses. The majority of businesses have corrected any issues. The county has delivered 79 notices of violations and dozens of notices of fine impositions, he said.

Anyone who has a concern or complaint about a business or gathering — or regarding access to testing for the virus — can file a report at scccovidconcerns.org. The public can also see which businesses have submitted protocol plans by visiting sdp.sccgov.org.

Ten Bay Area health officers issued a joint statement Monday on how to reduce risk from the coronavirus during the holidays. They strongly discourage people from nonessential travel. If they do, they're advised to quarantine at home for 14 days after they return.

"Travel outside the Bay Area will increase your chance of getting infected and spreading the virus to others after your return. For those who are traveling, there are tips to help avoid catching COVID-19 or spreading it to fellow travelers," the officers said.

The recommendations include no in-person gatherings with people outside of their household to reduce the risk of catching and spreading COVID-19. If people decide to have one, they should be "small, short, stable, and outdoors," according to the statement.

"When people who live in different houses or apartments are together at the same time in the same space, risk of COVID-19 spreading goes up, even when the people are relatives or friends. Please celebrate safely this year and protect yourself and your family by including masks, keeping a distance, and staying outdoors," Cody said in the statement.

The officials recommend decorating their home or yard, sharing a virtual meal with family or friends, hosting online parties or contests, preparing traditional meals to deliver to family and neighbors, having drive-by visits, attending drive-in venues to see holiday movies or attending holiday-themed, outdoor holiday installations.

Santa Clara County's mandatory directive for gatherings, revised on Nov. 4, can be found here.

Cindy Chavez, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, said she understands that people are tired of following rules and that they miss their families and friends, but she urged the public, particularly during the upcoming holidays, to continue to be vigilant and restrict their movements. She urged everyone to get a flu shot so that hospital beds needed for COVID-19 patients won't be taken up by people who are sick with influenza.

"A household is not everybody I know. A household is the people you live with," she said. "We're only going to get through this one way. … We're asking everyone in our community to dig in a little deeper and dig in a little longer."

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Craving a new voice in Peninsula dining?

Sign up for the Peninsula Foodist newsletter.

Sign up now

Follow Mountain View Voice Online on Twitter @mvvoice, Facebook and on Instagram @mvvoice for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

COVID-19 surge raises red flags in Santa Clara County

Health leaders urge people to vigilantly follow safety measures to keep the virus under control

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Mon, Nov 9, 2020, 3:32 pm

Santa Clara County health leaders delivered a sobering message on Monday morning: COVID-19 cases in the county are starting to surge.

The sharper rise in cases in the last week comes after a slower drift upward in October, Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said during a press conference in San Jose. The trajectory is starting to look like other areas of the state and country, which have seen steep hikes, she said.

To keep the deadly coronavirus from spiraling out of control, the public and businesses must do everything that they can to follow safety protocols, including wearing masks, washing their hands and socially distancing themselves to try to slow the spread of the virus, she said.

"The sharp uptick in cases is a very worrisome sign in terms of what it will mean for our hospitals," Cody said, noting that the county is also seeing a rise in hospitalizations and could see a sharper spike as the number of cases continues to climb.

As of Nov. 9, the county has had a cumulative total of 26,747 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 264 of which were new, according to its online COVID-19 data. There have been 433 deaths since the pandemic began, including three that were announced Monday. There are currently 103 hospitalizations, 19 of which are new, according to the county's dashboard. People ages 18 to 34 are showing the most cases and county officials are monitoring cases between 25 to 29 year olds, Cody said.

Health leaders don't have a clear explanation of what's causing the surge, such as specific superspreader events. The rise does come nine days after Halloween. It's possible many people are developing "pandemic fatigue" and might be less careful about following local health protocols, she said.

The county's last sharp spike was in July. Restrictions and publicity helped bring the case numbers down. By the beginning of October, new positive cases had dropped to double digits per day; that number has now risen to triple digits, she said.

A rise in hospitalization rates usually lags behind the number of positive cases, but the county is starting to see those numbers increase. The number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations had been about 80 per day. Over the weekend, more than 100 people were hospitalized, she said.

Cody said it will take everyone's effort to help bring the numbers down.

"What each of us (does) every day really matters to keep us from trending ourselves into the red and possibly purple tier," she said, noting that greater restrictions under the state's colored tiers could be instituted again if cases continue to rise.

County Counsel James Williams said the public should also expect to see an orange check mark at businesses that have filed and submitted revised protocols they will follow for reopening their businesses safely under the state's orange tier rules.

"We do need it to be a community expectation and norm that people only go to places where they see that orange check mark," he said.

Michael Balliet, head of the county's Emergency Operations Center business engagement branch, said staff have been actively engaging with businesses to help them be in compliance. His office has received 1,850 complaints or concerns about businesses and has assessed more than $600,000 in fines so far to habitually noncompliant businesses. The majority of businesses have corrected any issues. The county has delivered 79 notices of violations and dozens of notices of fine impositions, he said.

Anyone who has a concern or complaint about a business or gathering — or regarding access to testing for the virus — can file a report at scccovidconcerns.org. The public can also see which businesses have submitted protocol plans by visiting sdp.sccgov.org.

Ten Bay Area health officers issued a joint statement Monday on how to reduce risk from the coronavirus during the holidays. They strongly discourage people from nonessential travel. If they do, they're advised to quarantine at home for 14 days after they return.

"Travel outside the Bay Area will increase your chance of getting infected and spreading the virus to others after your return. For those who are traveling, there are tips to help avoid catching COVID-19 or spreading it to fellow travelers," the officers said.

The recommendations include no in-person gatherings with people outside of their household to reduce the risk of catching and spreading COVID-19. If people decide to have one, they should be "small, short, stable, and outdoors," according to the statement.

"When people who live in different houses or apartments are together at the same time in the same space, risk of COVID-19 spreading goes up, even when the people are relatives or friends. Please celebrate safely this year and protect yourself and your family by including masks, keeping a distance, and staying outdoors," Cody said in the statement.

The officials recommend decorating their home or yard, sharing a virtual meal with family or friends, hosting online parties or contests, preparing traditional meals to deliver to family and neighbors, having drive-by visits, attending drive-in venues to see holiday movies or attending holiday-themed, outdoor holiday installations.

Santa Clara County's mandatory directive for gatherings, revised on Nov. 4, can be found here.

Cindy Chavez, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, said she understands that people are tired of following rules and that they miss their families and friends, but she urged the public, particularly during the upcoming holidays, to continue to be vigilant and restrict their movements. She urged everyone to get a flu shot so that hospital beds needed for COVID-19 patients won't be taken up by people who are sick with influenza.

"A household is not everybody I know. A household is the people you live with," she said. "We're only going to get through this one way. … We're asking everyone in our community to dig in a little deeper and dig in a little longer."

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Comments

Tal Shaya
Registered user
another community
on Nov 10, 2020 at 6:37 am
Tal Shaya, another community
Registered user
on Nov 10, 2020 at 6:37 am
28 people like this

We went into lockdown when there were 30 new cases a day. Now there are 300 new cases a day. Dozens of people are dying each week in our county and we haven't seen the worst of it yet. We're going to need more than face masks in public.


If only all people were really wearing face mask.
Registered user
North Bayshore
on Nov 10, 2020 at 11:41 am
If only all people were really wearing face mask., North Bayshore
Registered user
on Nov 10, 2020 at 11:41 am
54 people like this

If only all people were really wearing face mask. If they were, we'd be in a very different situation.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Nov 10, 2020 at 1:26 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 10, 2020 at 1:26 pm
15 people like this

No one wants to understand that even with the best mask wearing, the problem will not become "normalized" until we have a good treatment or vaccine that practically everyone takes with no exceptions.

The idea that we could have had maybe a strict 90 day lockdown to "burn out" the virus was very short, by the time the WHO issued the alert it was probably too late.

And every time we "opened" up, we simply made it worse.

Our Medical Professionals hands were tied by the Federal and State Governments inability to understand the "LONG GAME". These governments mindset was you had to PROVE the population was sick and in danger FIRST in order to "LOCKDOWN". This is like the Space Shuttle Challenger when Morton Thiokol engineers warned of the solid rocket booster problem but NASA said you have no proof it will fail and launched it making it explode. WE still don't learn from history do we?

We are still in perhaps only starting a second wave, but there are 2 NEW strains off COVID 19 that even the new vaccine may not work on. They didn't state it covered them.

I am still hopeful, but we are not out of this mess yet.


JS
Registered user
Rengstorff Park
on Nov 10, 2020 at 3:06 pm
JS, Rengstorff Park
Registered user
on Nov 10, 2020 at 3:06 pm
47 people like this

Everything is about the mask. If you wear a face mask, the entire world would have beat the virus within 6 days. Not.

The face mask is a secondary mitigation as specified in the county and state orders. Stick to the primary and more effective mitigations of keeping at least 6 feet from people outside of your household, outdoors is much less risky than indoors (even with a face mask!) and minimize your time around people outside of your household.


Tina
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2020 at 5:13 pm
Tina, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Nov 10, 2020 at 5:13 pm
4 people like this

Taking the figures in the article and the population of Santa Clara lets do the math.
1.928 million people
433 covid deaths so far
.022%

I think we are doing a terrific job in keeping the virus from spiraling out of control in SCC.
Lets not scare people so much.


Common sense
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Nov 10, 2020 at 5:21 pm
Common sense, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 10, 2020 at 5:21 pm
1 person likes this

Steven Goldstein doesn't want to understand that irrespective of any "treatments or vaccines," stopping this disease's transmission -- and masks have proven a great help in doing so -- would halt the epidemic, cold, and could have done so months ago. That's not some theory, it's history. That's how most epidemics in history were stopped. That is how the 1918-1920 pandemic was stopped.

If public health officials were to impose one really useful mandate on "everyone with no exceptions," it might be to stop individuals advocating pet armchair theories (there are hundreds) that contradict current medical consensus.


Tina
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2020 at 5:28 pm
Tina, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Nov 10, 2020 at 5:28 pm
1 person likes this

This is a really good website to check out for causes of death in SCC before Covid.
Very interesting indeed.
Web Link


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Nov 10, 2020 at 6:09 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 10, 2020 at 6:09 pm
23 people like this

In response to Common sense you wrote:

“Steven Goldstein doesn't want to understand that irrespective of any "treatments or vaccines," stopping this disease's transmission -- and masks have proven a great help in doing so -- would halt the epidemic, cold, and could have done so months ago. That's not some theory, it's history. That's how most epidemics in history were stopped. That is how the 1918-1920 pandemic was stopped.”

You have an incomplete picture here. Here is some information from the CDC website found here (Web Link). Let me demonstrate:

“With no vaccine to protect against influenza infection and no antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections that can be associated with influenza infections, control efforts worldwide were limited to non-pharmaceutical interventions such as isolation, quarantine, good personal hygiene, use of disinfectants, and limitations of public gatherings, which were applied unevenly.”

That disease did burn out but it cost 675,000 Americans and 50 million people worldwide. There were 10.6.5 Million people in the U.S. in 1920 so approximately 0.63% died of the 1918 pandemic. But COVID has a rate of about 2% fatality. Even if you use the original 1918 pandemic fatality rate you will see 2,091,000 Americans dead. That means another 1,850,000 more people will die. But with the COVID fatality rate of 2% you will see 6,600,000. Which means that another 6,360,000 will die if we go with your model.

The problem is that currently we are not enforcing isolation, quarantines, or limitations on public gatherings EVENLY. If you only do personal hygiene and use of disinfectants, it is not going to do the job. And you know it. The key phrase is these actions were applied UNEVENLY. Allowing people to move from one population zone to another simply negates the “County By County” controls unless you isolate all people within the counties. Otherwise it will just flare up again. Masks are not going to be the solution to this problem in the long run. You wrote:

“If public health officials were to impose one really useful mandate on "everyone with no exceptions," it might be to stop individuals advocating pet armchair theories (there are hundreds) that contradict current medical consensus.”

First, I like that you constantly take your time to single me out instead of discussing the topic again. Second, please provide any information that I have said that CONTRADICTS MEDICAL CONSENSUS. The reality is that the influenza virus had a much shorter life span outside the body.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Nov 11, 2020 at 12:19 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 11, 2020 at 12:19 pm
21 people like this

I find it interesting that the County Dept of Health has not updated the Blueprint Dashboard since Nov 5, when it gets updated weekly. We are expecting an update tomorrow.

Probably the DPH already has bad news, the Code will go from Orange to Red given the latest surge in the ADJUSTED rate.

It got a lot of complaints when it had to shut down businesses earlier this year after opening them up again.

It may get worse if the UNADJUSTED goes back to Code Purple.

We are only getting 88% of the contact tracing done and 41% of the cases are caused by the persons being traced. This means that old cases are causing as much as 50% of the new cases regarding Santa Clara County RESIDENTS.

But realize this, this is just counting the Santa Clara County and not the cross county travelers impact. We never stopped the intercounty traveling and we seem to not ever consider it.

We aren't doing half of what we did during 1918-1920 influenzas, thus there is no end in sight regarding COVID until we do.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Nov 11, 2020 at 3:45 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 11, 2020 at 3:45 pm
12 people like this

OMG,

The latest COVID Blueprint update for Nov. 9, 2020 is out regarding Santa Clara County, we are now back in the Code Red state.(Web Link)

Its just a matter of time an announcement of the change will happen. The Adjusted rate went up .9 a relative change of 28% plus.

It is just a matter of time


Tal Shaya
Registered user
another community
on Nov 11, 2020 at 6:32 pm
Tal Shaya, another community
Registered user
on Nov 11, 2020 at 6:32 pm
10 people like this

@Tina does .022% seem like a good number to you? It's not. It's over 7 1/4 MILLION dead Americans. Those are Holocaust numbers, not great numbers.


Tina
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2020 at 7:42 pm
Tina, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Nov 11, 2020 at 7:42 pm
2 people like this

@Tal for the US at SSC death rate:
350,000,000 x .000225= 78,750
For Santa Clara county
433/1928000=.000225


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Nov 11, 2020 at 9:17 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 11, 2020 at 9:17 pm
18 people like this

In response to Tina please consider this information based on your claim you wrote:

“350,000,000 x .000225= 78,750”

Your fatality factor is completely wrong. Because the number of infected in the nation is not complete. In fact if you read the information from Johns Hopkins found here (Web Link) regarding KNOWN COVID infections and deaths the U.S. has a fatality rate of 2.3% of those infected. The reality is that the shutdowns reduced the know infection in Santa Clara County to only 27,124 infection counted with 441 deaths (that we know of) which comes to 1.6% fatality regarding the known infection. The data comes from the Santa Clara County COVID 19 Cases dashboard found here (Web Link) Your basis is simply incorrect.

The real facts are the COVID 19 Santa Clara County Public Health Orders kept the infections down and the deaths down, if the general population wound up getting COVID based on that percentage we would lose 1,928,000 Times .016 or 31,360 people dead in the county. You don’t understand how to make the correct calculations it seems.

Given that the U.S. has 350,000,000 and the national fatality rate on infection is 2.3% and you want to claim that every person will get the disease then you wind up with 8,050,000 dead.

I know it is hard to swallow, but our actions have saved tens of thousands of lives at this time.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.