It’s been almost a year since the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Santa Clara County and now the county has reached the unfortunate milestone of surpassing 100,000 cases.
As of Thursday, the county had a total of 100,468 cases, of which 1,344 people have died.
“I am very sad,” Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine Officer. “[The death toll] is not a number, it’s a person. It could represent your parents, your brother, your sister.”
But, Fenstersheib said, the county’s swift response likely prevented more deaths.
In early March, Santa Clara County was the first county in the state to impose a stay-at-home order and since then, has kept various forms of lockdowns in effect.
“The fact that we were the first county…likely prevented a lot more deaths and a lot more hospitalizations in this community,” Fenstersheib said.
And with vaccinations ramping up, the county is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
To date, the county has administered 185,535 doses of vaccine — of which 147,838 were first doses and 37,697 second doses — making up 8% of all county residents over 16 years old, Fenstersheib said.
Fenstersheib and Associate Chief Medical Officer for the county’s medical center Dr. Jennifer Tong, emphasized equity as a “top priority” in vaccination distribution.
This means ensuring vaccine availability to residents 65 years and older, the Latinx community and individuals living in East San Jose.
So far, the county has made “substantial progress” in vaccinating those 75 years and older, Fenstersheib said.
About 28%, or 1 out of every four residents 75 years and older, have received the first dose of vaccine.
This is significant as residents 65 years and older made up 80% of COVID-19 deaths.
“Again, with the high mortality rate in our senior citizens, getting the vaccine into the arms of our seniors in this community will go a long way to preventing further deaths and hospitalizations,” Fenstersheib said.
To reach the Latinx and East San Jose community, the county partnered with community groups and opened the first drop-in vaccination site at the Mexican Heritage Plaza in East San Jose.
The county has also opened up three mass vaccination sites and is administering vaccines in several health clinics and community centers.
Tong said the county has the capacity to administer thousands of vaccines and it is only limited by the supply of vaccine.
Currently, about 6,600 doses are administered in the county every day and 60,000 vaccine appointments have been scheduled for the next seven days.
But the daily vaccination average is still about less than half of the average needed to reach the county’s lofty goal of vaccinating 85% of the eligible population by Aug. 1.
In order to meet that threshold, the county would need to administer about 13,000 to 15,000 of vaccines per day, seven days a week.
That means the county would need about twice the amount it has now, Fenstersheib said.
“[Aug. 1 is] still the goal,” Fenstersheib said. “I think the federal government is doing its best and we’re confident and hopeful we’ll get enough vaccine.”
Residents ages 65 and older and healthcare workers are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. To make an appointment visit sccfreevax.org. By next week, residents can start to make appointments through the phone.