COVID-19 Cases in Santa Clara County
This past week, the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department reported 65 more individuals in the county who contracted COVID-19 have lost their lives. This brings the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the county to 1,708. As of Friday, February 19th, the total case count had reached 108,462, and the 7 day rolling average of new cases (based on specimen collection date) was at 331 cases per day.
As of Friday, there were 253 COVID positive patients hospitalized in Santa Clara County (down from 325 the prior week and 377 the week before that). Of these hospitalizations, 82 were in the ICU. COVID positive patients now occupy 24% of all ICU beds, and just 17% of beds are currently available. These ICU bed capacity numbers already factor in surge beds that are staffed. More data can be found through the Public Health Department’s Data Dashboards.
Updates on County Vaccination Efforts
This week, the County continued its efforts to move as quickly as possible to provide shots to the community’s most vulnerable residents. In an ongoing effort to offer services in areas hardest hit by the pandemic, the County of Santa Clara and Gilroy Unified School District officials announced last Friday that the County’s Health System will open a new large-scale appointment-only vaccination site at Gilroy High School, located at 750 W. 10th Street in Gilroy, and that the site is expected to open by the end of the month. The site is part of the County’s ongoing, expansive effort to ensure robust access to vaccine in the areas of the county with the highest rates of COVID-19, and Gilroy is one of the most impacted communities in Santa Clara County.
On Sunday, the County announced that more than half of county residents age 75 and older had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccine data from the California Department of Public Health’s California Immunization Registry (CAIR2) now show that 49.3% of county residents age 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with 249,442 total residents now partially or fully vaccinated. These data reflect strong progress towards the County’s goal of vaccinating at least 85% of residents age 16 or older by August 1, 2021. The data also continue to reflect the ongoing need to focus vaccination efforts on ensuring equitable access for those at greatest risk of serious illness and death, and those at greatest risk of exposure to COVID-19.
The State of California has established phases and tiers for when different populations are eligible to receive vaccine. Information on who will be eligible next is available on the State of California’s vaccination website. Our understanding of the current landscape of other providers in our community is that: Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Stanford, Bay Area Community Health, and El Camino Health are offering vaccinations to eligible healthcare personnel and individuals 65 or older, Kaiser is offering vaccination to healthcare personnel, long term care patients and staff, and people 75 and older, and the VA Palo Alto Healthcare System is currently vaccinating high-risk Veterans, beginning with homeless Veterans, dialysis, transplant patients, chemotherapy patients, and Veterans over 70 years of age.
On Wednesday, County officials announced that healthcare providers across Santa Clara County will expand access to COVID-19 vaccination to county residents who work in education and childcare, emergency services, and the food and agriculture industries, starting February 28, 2021. The latest updates on vaccine eligibility and how to schedule an appointment are available on the County’s website at [sccfreevax.org]sccfreevax.org, including information on when those newly eligible can start to schedule vaccine appointments. Residents without internet access or who need additional assistance can call 211 for assistance in multiple languages. Appointments fill up quickly, but new appointments will be regularly released as vaccine supply allows, and community members are encouraged to check regularly.
Simplified COVID Testing Through Saliva Collection
Over the weekend, the County announced that the County’s COVID-19 pop-up testing sites in Santa Clara County will be switching to testing via saliva specimen. Saliva collection simplifies the logistics of COVID-19 testing and is less invasive, providing a faster and easier experience for residents. Please be aware that individuals cannot eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum thirty minutes before saliva collection for accurate results, and that as with all testing sites, there is always a staff member available to provide assistance as needed.
County COVID Testing Locations
The community testing program operated by Santa Clara Valley Medical Center continues to offer extensive drop-in and appointment-based COVID-19 testing at several locations across the county. Residents can book an appointment for the Fairgrounds or the various rotating city sites, and appointments can be made in Vietnamese, Chinese, Spanish, or English.
Additional Community-Based and State-Operated Testing Options
Roots Community Health Center and Gardner Health Services continue to organize free, community-based drop-in COVID-19 testing events every Wednesday. Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI) provides similar community-based testing every Friday at their Story Road site. No appointments are necessary, and all individuals are served regardless of insurance or immigration status.
- Gardner Health Services: Mexican Heritage Plaza, 1700 Alum Rock Avenue, San José, 95116. Testing offered Wednesday from 1pm to 7pm. For more information, call 408-457-7100.
- AACI Health Center: Story Road Clinic: 749 Story Rd, #50, San Jose CA 95122. Testing offered Friday from 9am-12pm. For more information, call 408-975-2763.
In addition, there are several testing sites now operated OptumServe, a State contractor. These sites are free but require appointments. Visit here or call (888) 634-1123 to schedule an appointment:
- Independence High School (drive through): 617 N. Jackson Ave., San José. Testing offered Sunday through Friday from 7am to 7pm.
- Mount Pleasant High School (drive through): 1750 S. White Road, San José. Testing offered Monday through Saturday from 7am to 7pm.
- Gilroy Civic Center: 7351 Church St., Gilroy. Testing offered Friday through Tuesday from 7am to 7pm.
- Gavilan College: Social Science Building, 5055 Santa Teresa Blvd, Gilroy CA 95020. Testing offered Tuesday through Thursday from 7 am to 7 pm
- Grange in Morgan Hill: 40 E 4th Street, Morgan Hill CA 95037. Testing offered Friday from 7 am to 7 pm.
- James Lick High School: 2951 Alum Rock Ave., San José. Testing offered Tuesday through Saturday from 7am to 7pm.