With local COVID-19 cases and deaths on the rise and hospitals in the area at risk of being overwhelmed, local officials are asking residents to cancel their vacation plans.
The new coronavirus is set to become the third leading cause of death this year in Santa Clara County, officials said on December 23. The county has already recorded 632 COVID-related deaths. To avoid further, authorities are advising residents to stay home during the holidays.
“Cancel any meeting you expected with anyone who doesn’t live with you,” said Dr. Ahmad Kamal, county health preparation director for COVID-19, at a news conference. “Cancel any travel plans you have. Even if it’s in a car, a few hundred kilometers away. Cancel right now. “
The situation in the county with the pandemic is more dire than ever, said Dr. Sara Cody, public health officer for Santa Clara County. At least 623 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, according to county data. Hospitals in the area have decreased to just 35 beds in intensive care units. Eight out of 10 hospitals have five or fewer open ICU beds, and three hospitals have less than ten beds of any kind remaining, said Kamal.
If the situation gets any worse, patients – whether they are suffering from COVID-19 or not – will pay the price, he said.
“We are talking about rationing the scarce resources that our exhausted health care system has left behind,” said Kamal. “We are talking about people dying who shouldn’t have died. And when hospitals are at that point – where they are rationing care, where they have to refuse people who desperately need their services, it is no longer just about COVID. It’s about everyone. “
County leaders asked people to avoid encounters with other families. It may be difficult or impossible to know if other people have the disease, because people with the virus are usually asymptomatic.
In fact, Cody described the virus as a “silent” killer.
“One of COVID’s huge challenges is that it is silent. You can’t see that. Your lover doesn’t look dangerous, ”said Cody. “And you can have chains of silent propagation that you don’t see the end in someone being hospitalized or the end in someone dying.”
Contact Mauricio La Plante at [email protected] or follow @mslaplantenews on Twitter.