Christmas has come to California with a blow this year of the Covid-19 pandemic, with county after county reporting horror stories of overflowing ICU units at hospitals and fatigued healthcare providers.
More than 2 million people have been infected by the novel coronavirus in California, surpassing all other states in the United States.
After Thanksgiving, the state has seen a spike in the Covid-19 cases. Santa Clara county in California, better known as the home of Silicon Valley, is no exception.
According to the report released December 24 by Santa Clara’s public health department, the county has 61,090 Covid-19 cases, 632 people have died, and the ICU capacity is almost full.
The number of people infected is the most between ages 18 and 49, at 59 percent, whereas the death rate is high among those aged 65 and above. The data also shows that more men (56.9 percent) are dying of Covid-19 than women (42 percent).
Of Santa Clara county’s population of 1,781,642, Asians make up 31.7 percent. The county data show over 25.5 percent of Asians have died.
The report released by the county health department says that Covid-19 is projected to be the third leading cause of death in Santa Clara County in 2020, behind only cancer and heart disease.
“We really are in a very bad situation, the county of Santa Clara has almost 60K cases as of yesterday with a 7-day rolling average of new cases equal to 1194,” Santa Clara Councilmember Raj Chahal told indica News.
“The ICU capacity is almost full,” Chahal said.
According to the Santa Clara county data, in mid-November, a week before Thanksgiving, an average of three people died per day due to Covid-19. A month later, that average increased to nearly six people per day.
The county’s seven-day average positivity rate as of December 13 was 7.7 percent, the highest since the pandemic began in March. That’s compared to 3.4 percent on November 19, one week before Thanksgiving Day, and 1.3 percent on May 27.
“This is not the data any of us wanted to share but it is the reality of where we are in this pandemic,” said Dr Sara Cody, health officer for Santa Clara, in a press note.
“The numbers do not lie. We have now seen how Thanksgiving gatherings fueled the spread of the virus and we must slow it down now before it completely overwhelms our health systems. We are nearly at the breaking point.”
Chahal told indica News that “we all have to listen to Dr. Sara Cody’s advice and do our bit to deal with the Covid-19 spread. In my own City of Santa Clara, we have 2,553 cases till yesterday (December 23).”
The vaccine is here but it will take time to get everyone inoculated, he said.
“My plea to the residents is to maintain social distancing, wear masks, in case of doubt get yourself tested and be proactive to protect yourself and others,” Councilmember Chahal stressed.
“We all are in this together, let us help each other and as a community, we will for sure overcome this pandemic,” he said.
He lauded SEWA International’s work for supporting the families during pandemic.
“In collaboration of several non-profits like SEWA, I am proud to arrange more than 80K pounds of free fresh food distribution for the needy families of my council district.”
He said the city had approved emergency rent relief of more than $1.5 million.
“To mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on Santa Clara small businesses and their employees, the City of Santa Clara has committed up to $1,690,000 in one-time funds to create a Small Business Assistance Grant Program. We also passed an anti-eviction ordinance for the renters who could not pay their rent.”
NPR reported that hospitals throughout Los Angeles County, too, are now strained and overwhelmed. Ambulances were waiting for hours to offload into crowded emergency rooms, and scheduled surgeries were being postponed to make space for Covid-19 patients.
In Fresno County, health officials said there was no room at the hospitals and patients have to wait in hallways and other rooms before they are shifted to ICU.
“This is a very dire subject matter to talk about, but this is the reality we’re looking at,” Dan Lynch, emergency medical services coordinator for Fresno County, said at a media briefing.
Dr Rais Vohra, Fresno interim health officer, said: “People have to wait hours and days to bring patients in to emergency. We don’t have spots and patients are lined in the hallway and waiting for their turn to get in the emergency department.”