News

Santa Clara County COVID cases surpass height of delta surge

Health officer urges public to mask indoors, get second booster shots if eligible

A woman shops for groceries at Piazza's Fine Foods in Palo Alto on March 24, 2022. Photo by Lloyd Lee.

COVID-19 cases are rising again to levels higher than last summer's surge, Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said during a press conference on Tuesday.

The number of hospitalizations are also on the rise, Cody said.

"What we're seeing now is similar to what we were seeing in mid-February, and it's more than what we were seeing at the height of the delta surge," she said.

Referencing wastewater surveillance, one measure of the coronavirus' presence, she noted: "When we look across all of our sewersheds, we are also seeing an uptick. … (At) the San Jose sewershed, which covers the majority of the population in Santa Clara County, the levels there are now more than twice what they were two weeks ago. They've been steadily climbing for about a month."

Not surprisingly, the county is experiencing a significant rise in reports of outbreaks from schools, work sites and other congregate facilities. Many of them are related to social gatherings.

Help sustain the local news you depend on.

Your contribution matters. Become a member today.

Join

"It's spring. School is ending and people are gathering and COVID is spreading," she said.

She added that the variants circulating now spread much more easily than earlier coronavirus variants.

"Even if you've got omicron during the omicron surge, you can still get COVID again, unfortunately. I wanted to make sure that everyone understood that," she said.

Vaccination, she said, is still the best way to prevent hospitalization, severe illness and even death from COVID.

She advised people to keep the highest-grade mask handy and to wear it whenever indoors, especially if it's crowded or poorly ventilated. People should also use at-home COVID-19 tests if they have been exposed or develop symptoms, she said.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

"If you do get sick, seek treatment; there is treatment available. There are pills that you can take to prevent severe illness from COVID," said Cody, who encouraged people to learn more from their health care provider.

Many people are eligible for the medication, Paxlovid, which is in stock at most pharmacies.

"We're also encouraging providers to get up to date on these pills. And so if you do get infected, you can get treated," she said.

Even though it's getting increasingly difficult to prevent infection, Cody said it's still worth preventing illness.

"That's because if you're sick, you're gonna miss work, you're gonna miss school, you might expose somebody else who's not going to do well with COVID. And if you get sick with COVID, you're at risk of long COVID, which you really don't want to get," she said.

"Two-and-a-half years in, we're not out of it yet," Cody said. "But every little bit that you do will help you stay safe and help our community safe."

The county doesn't have plans to add any restrictions apart from being aligned with California regarding the mask requirement. The state still strongly recommends masking indoors and the county follows that recommendation, she said.

"At this point in the pandemic, no one wants to issue restrictions," she said. "People need to take extra precautions and wear their mask indoors and be a bit more choosy about their gatherings, take them outside, test, etc."

The county recommends anyone who is over age 50 or who has certain immunocompromised conditions to get a second booster shot if they haven't already. The durability of the vaccines and boosters to prevent severe illness and hospitalization seem to be holding steadily, Cody said.

"People who are vaccinated and boosted are less likely to get infected and less likely to spread (it)," she said.

People should not try to time their boosters with when they think a surge would occur, however. Each new variant that emerges — particularly omicron and its subvariants — appears to gain an advantage over the previous variant and spread more easily.

Cody said she doesn't have a crystal ball regarding the future of the virus and when, or if it will fade away.

"We will continue to see peaks and valleys. How often the peaks come and how high they are and how dangerous they are, we don't really know," she said.

"I think that one thing to remember is that the conditions are present for new variants to emerge, and they could emerge really in any corner of the world. Certainly what we've experienced during this pandemic is that a problem in one corner of the world then spreads across the world. … I believe it is something that we're going to be living with for quite some time."

"But we also have to have balance and do those things that we enjoy doing," she said.

Watch the full press conference:

Craving a new voice in Peninsula dining?

Sign up for the Peninsula Foodist newsletter.

Sign up now
Sue Dremann
 
Sue Dremann is a veteran journalist who joined the Palo Alto Weekly in 2001. She is a breaking news and general assignment reporter who also covers the regional environmental, health and crime beats. Read more >>

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Stay informed on important covid news. Sign up for our FREE daily Express newsletter.

Santa Clara County COVID cases surpass height of delta surge

Health officer urges public to mask indoors, get second booster shots if eligible

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, May 10, 2022, 1:54 pm

COVID-19 cases are rising again to levels higher than last summer's surge, Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said during a press conference on Tuesday.

The number of hospitalizations are also on the rise, Cody said.

"What we're seeing now is similar to what we were seeing in mid-February, and it's more than what we were seeing at the height of the delta surge," she said.

Referencing wastewater surveillance, one measure of the coronavirus' presence, she noted: "When we look across all of our sewersheds, we are also seeing an uptick. … (At) the San Jose sewershed, which covers the majority of the population in Santa Clara County, the levels there are now more than twice what they were two weeks ago. They've been steadily climbing for about a month."

Not surprisingly, the county is experiencing a significant rise in reports of outbreaks from schools, work sites and other congregate facilities. Many of them are related to social gatherings.

"It's spring. School is ending and people are gathering and COVID is spreading," she said.

She added that the variants circulating now spread much more easily than earlier coronavirus variants.

"Even if you've got omicron during the omicron surge, you can still get COVID again, unfortunately. I wanted to make sure that everyone understood that," she said.

Vaccination, she said, is still the best way to prevent hospitalization, severe illness and even death from COVID.

She advised people to keep the highest-grade mask handy and to wear it whenever indoors, especially if it's crowded or poorly ventilated. People should also use at-home COVID-19 tests if they have been exposed or develop symptoms, she said.

"If you do get sick, seek treatment; there is treatment available. There are pills that you can take to prevent severe illness from COVID," said Cody, who encouraged people to learn more from their health care provider.

Many people are eligible for the medication, Paxlovid, which is in stock at most pharmacies.

"We're also encouraging providers to get up to date on these pills. And so if you do get infected, you can get treated," she said.

Even though it's getting increasingly difficult to prevent infection, Cody said it's still worth preventing illness.

"That's because if you're sick, you're gonna miss work, you're gonna miss school, you might expose somebody else who's not going to do well with COVID. And if you get sick with COVID, you're at risk of long COVID, which you really don't want to get," she said.

"Two-and-a-half years in, we're not out of it yet," Cody said. "But every little bit that you do will help you stay safe and help our community safe."

The county doesn't have plans to add any restrictions apart from being aligned with California regarding the mask requirement. The state still strongly recommends masking indoors and the county follows that recommendation, she said.

"At this point in the pandemic, no one wants to issue restrictions," she said. "People need to take extra precautions and wear their mask indoors and be a bit more choosy about their gatherings, take them outside, test, etc."

The county recommends anyone who is over age 50 or who has certain immunocompromised conditions to get a second booster shot if they haven't already. The durability of the vaccines and boosters to prevent severe illness and hospitalization seem to be holding steadily, Cody said.

"People who are vaccinated and boosted are less likely to get infected and less likely to spread (it)," she said.

People should not try to time their boosters with when they think a surge would occur, however. Each new variant that emerges — particularly omicron and its subvariants — appears to gain an advantage over the previous variant and spread more easily.

Cody said she doesn't have a crystal ball regarding the future of the virus and when, or if it will fade away.

"We will continue to see peaks and valleys. How often the peaks come and how high they are and how dangerous they are, we don't really know," she said.

"I think that one thing to remember is that the conditions are present for new variants to emerge, and they could emerge really in any corner of the world. Certainly what we've experienced during this pandemic is that a problem in one corner of the world then spreads across the world. … I believe it is something that we're going to be living with for quite some time."

"But we also have to have balance and do those things that we enjoy doing," she said.

Watch the full press conference:

Comments

MyFeelz
Registered user
Nixon School
on May 10, 2022 at 8:20 pm
MyFeelz, Nixon School
Registered user
on May 10, 2022 at 8:20 pm

Seems like Santa Clara County took the prize for the most cases early in COVID and wants to keep that tropy case filled. It's unnerving to see places that have signs that say "mask required" where nobody's observing it and nobody is policing that. The State of California has not rescinded the Public Health Emergency that it declared, and renewed until July 2022, at which time it will be revisited. Until it is rescinded, there IS a Public Health Emergency going on whether people want to acknowledge it or not.


Jane
Registered user
Ventura
on May 11, 2022 at 8:01 pm
Jane, Ventura
Registered user
on May 11, 2022 at 8:01 pm

It's an ongoing risk which you can put in the pile with all the other risks we encounter every day and need to take it in consideration. It is not, however, an emergency.

If you are concerned for yourself, we now have enough information for you to know how to protect yourself with PPE (N95+face shield), staying away from other people, and staying current with immunizations.

If you are concerned for other people, well, they may have a different point of view or tolerance for risk from yours. We need to respect each other.


No heat
Registered user
Fairmeadow
on May 12, 2022 at 9:12 am
No heat, Fairmeadow
Registered user
on May 12, 2022 at 9:12 am

FWIW, you can track this on a more local and more frequently updated basis by looking at the sewage monitoring data:
Web Link

And by looking at what has been happening in the schools, where it looks like Gunn High had an outbreak last week:
Web Link

We're fortunate to have the vaccines available; without it, a lot more of us would be dead:
Web Link


Russ
Registered user
Barron Park
on May 12, 2022 at 12:06 pm
Russ, Barron Park
Registered user
on May 12, 2022 at 12:06 pm

How are a million deaths (half of them in the past year) not an emergency? Our family has rediscovered the beauty of the nearby open spaces and beaches though. Hopefully the virus won't get transmissible enough that it can be easily caught outdoors.


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 12, 2022 at 12:32 pm
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on May 12, 2022 at 12:32 pm

I think it is important that the million deaths are people dying with Covid, not necessarily dying from Covid. Those who have died with Covid may not be alive now as they had other health conditions.

Whichever way it is, all deaths are sad. Those who have died from other pandemic related causes such as depression, suicide, overdoses of drugs or alcohol, domestic abuse, etc. are sad also and we have no figures about those deaths either.

Mental health has been a very big issue during the pandemic. Domestic violence has also been an issue. There has also been less screening for cancers and other conditions and there are many patients who may have been doing much better if they had been able to get screening or early diagnosis.

We have to wake up to the reality that the past 2 1/2 years has caused more death, more hardship and more mental issues on top of the hard numbers of Covid deaths. This is a very sad situation.


MyFeelz
Registered user
Juana Briones School
on May 12, 2022 at 2:34 pm
MyFeelz, Juana Briones School
Registered user
on May 12, 2022 at 2:34 pm

What you're saying to me Jane is no different than the anti-maskers have said all along. "Screw anybody who wants to stay healthy and wants to help others stay healthy because I'm selfish and don't care about others." What you need, Jane, is to have three relatives lost to COVID, and one on the permanent disabled list in your immediate family. Then maybe your opinion might change. However, I'm going to keep doing what I've done since the beginning which is take care of myself appropriately and give others THE SAME RESPECT. As in, I am not endangering their life by any of my actions. Non-maskers have a different opinion, yes, I know that. They simply don't care enough about the numbers. Until they or someone they love becomes one of them. They still won't care about me, they will be simply chalking the deaths of their loved ones as "OH WELL" moments.


John B. Sails
Registered user
Midtown
on May 13, 2022 at 6:32 am
John B. Sails, Midtown
Registered user
on May 13, 2022 at 6:32 am

If I may add my two cents, agree strongly with the 2 1/2 years later--adaptive reasonableness of the posts by Jane and Bystander [portion removed.] It comes to a point, after 3, maybe 4 shots and endless negative tests, that prolonged hand-wringing of the dreaded 'case numbers' falsely equivocated with 'deaths' in endorsements of indefinite PRC-like lockdowns, that EVEN SCC Health Officer Dr. Cody has adjusted, realizing that this makes things worse not better. Bystander is right, think of all the most common traits of those that died and unlike Queen Elizabeth did not defeat it: obesity, smoking, drinking, taking drugs, not exercising, lack of immunity, mental health crisis--even rising suicides, poverty, crime, even hate crimes, and then consider, as schools and gyms were closed, but Baskin Robbins open throughout, are extending fearful, conservative, and conformist COVID mandates indefinitely made things WORSE not better. Even Dr. Cody must know by now, that return to the mask mandates is not equivalent to being self-less and caring to others, but can't help but to call into question the efficacy of the vaxxes. I know I know, they will be better next year, but they work really well, really they do, mask-people! as does building up your own natural immunity by exercise--being out and about, yes, socializing with others, etc.

[Portion removed.] I am disappointed when I see people driving cars by themselves wearing masks, or thin young people wearing them outside walking by themselves in bay area heavy winds. Then I go home and see stadiums full of maskless people at baseball games and inside NBA games--even on planes in Europe now. What is your purpose, mask people? [Portion removed.]


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 13, 2022 at 9:05 am
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on May 13, 2022 at 9:05 am

When the lockdowns were started for 3 weeks to relieve pressure on health providers, we reluctantly worked with the restrictions. We have not been treated respectfully in so many areas since. A friend whose parent in their mid 90s said many times, "I know what I am being isolated from, but I have no idea what I am being isolated for", as she was put into isolation in her nursing home room, for weeks at a time and kept away from family visits and friends in the same facility. Her life was through a screen for most of the past 2 1/2 years, with meals brought to her room instead of going to the facility dining room and joining in with what used to be various group activities for the residents. During that time, her life was lonely on a day to day basis. In the past month she died of something completely unrelated to Covid. But her last years were lonely compared to the reasonably active life she had prelockdowns. As she said, at the age of 95 she didn't know what she was being sheltered for as the number of years left to her were limited. She just wanted to enjoy them.


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

Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.