‘We have a lot of viruses circulating now’: Santa Clara County Health Officer

Santa Clara County’s top health official warned Tuesday that the number of novel coronavirus cases and hospitalizations is on the rise and urged everyone to consider wearing masks in high-risk locations, keeping a stockpile of tests and being careful when socializing indoors.

“The epidemic is still here,” said Health Officer Dr. Sarah Cody. “It’s time to break your mask, start your exams, and be more careful than you were a month ago.”

Santa Clara County is currently seeing a weekly average of 552 cases — slightly higher than the number of cases during the peak of the delta wave that hit in the summer of 2021. It caused a significant increase during the winter, which is currently prevalent across the country.

Cody’s announcement didn’t include any public health mandates — nor did it provide any criteria for when and whether the county would enforce any. But Cody left the door open for some toughening of the rules.

“I would say that at this point in the pandemic, no one wants to impose restrictions,” she said. “At the same time, we also know that we have to think about the whole community and especially the most vulnerable people who need restrictions to protect them. What I want to happen is for everyone to understand just where we are. And to understand that they are at risk because we have a lot of viruses circulating now. on its way to the top.”

The county is also hovering between 80 to 100 people currently in hospital with COVID — an increase from mid to late April when there were between 65 and 75 people in hospital. Cody said Tuesday that she expects those numbers to increase. Deaths from COVID in the county tend to have a downward trend, however, this measure tends to rise after cases peak.

During Tuesday’s press conference, Cody also encouraged non-immunized people to get an injection and urged those who qualify for a second booster shot to get one, which includes older and immunocompromised individuals. The health officer noted that there was not much demand for a second booster. Within the county, 29 percent of those 65 and older received a second booster, while only 15 percent of those ages 50 to 64 received one.

Other counties in the Bay Area on Tuesday also watched a steady rise in coronavirus cases.

At the Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting, Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss said his department has no plans for upcoming public health assignments. However, if hospitalizations continue to rise and “prolonged” COVID symptoms are widespread, Moss said the mask mandate will likely return.

San Mateo, Contra Costa, Marin and San Francisco counties do not have current plans for mask requirements, according to their health departments.