Santa Clara County health officials reported an additional 59 confirmed cases of COVID-19 today, bringing the total up to 1,207.
No new deaths were reported on Sunday, so the local death toll remains at 39. Meanwhile, the county reports that nearly 11,000 people have been tested, and that 211 of their results are still pending. The positive testing rate, based on reported data, is 11.09 percent and the average turnaround time for results is 2.36 days.
As of today, Santa Clara County’s 11 hospitals were treating 286 COVID-19 patients, according to the health department’s new coronavirus dashboards. Some 175 are in acute care beds, while 91 are in the ICU. Out of the county’s stash of 652 ventilators, 217 are currently being utilized for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.
Santa Clara County currently has a surge capacity of 1,456 beds as the hospital system braces for an influx of patients who will fall ill from the coronavirus.
“The capacity of our health care system to respond to large events is expandable and elastic,” Dr. Jennifer Tong, who’s in charge of the local surge plan for the county health department, told reporters in a press release. “Hospitals in our area are prepared to increase the number of hospital beds available to care for those affected by COVID-19.”
In addition to scaling up the local healthcare system, county officials say they’ve found housing for every COVID-19 patient who is homeless. By Friday, 174 medically vulnerable homeless individuals have already been placed in some kind of shelter and 215 more will have a place to stay in the coming days.
The Valley Homeless Healthcare Program in conjunction with Gardner Health Services have been trying to identify unhoused people who have three or more underlying health conditions that would put them at high risk of complications from the virus.
“We have led the region in addressing homelessness and the housing challenges facing our community,” Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese said in a press release “I commend the County’s Office of Supportive Housing for ensuring that every COVID-positive member of community is off the streets.”
Bay Area health officials Thursday night also issued new guidance to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Residents are now encouraged to wear face masks when venturing out for essential errands like going to the grocery store or the doctor’s office.
“We know that a person can spread the virus before they develop symptoms, or even if they never develop symptoms,” Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said in a press release. “Face coverings are not a substitute for sheltering in place, frequent hand-washing, and social distancing, but they do provide an additional layer of prevention when engaging in essential activities.”
However, residents are discouraged from wearing medical masks such as N95 respirators since there is a global shortage of personal protective equipment for doctors and nurses. Instead, health officials suggest using bandanas or some other homemade fabric mask.
The new recommendation comes from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, which has changed its guidance as scientists are learning more about how people can be infectious days before they start showing symptoms.