COVID-19 cases in Santa Clara County have risen in recent weeks to higher levels than they reached during last fall’s delta variant surge, the county’s public health officer said Tuesday.
According to Dr. Sara Cody, the county’s uptick in COVID cases is tied mostly to outbreaks at social gatherings, schools, workplaces and congregate facilities.
Reported cases have been rising for roughly a month, Cody said, and are believed to be an undercount due to the wider availability of at-home tests that are often not tallied by the county.
COVID-related hospitalizations have also begun to increase above 100 patients after several months of the number of occupied hospital beds remaining in the 60s and 70s.
“The pandemic is still here, we are seeing more activity,” she said. “So it’s time to break out your mask and break out your tests and just be a bit more cautious than maybe you were a month ago.”
Cody encouraged residents to take precautions like gathering outside when possible and using a high-quality mask in crowded or poorly ventilated indoor settings.
She also encouraged those in Santa Clara County who have not yet gotten vaccinated or received an additional booster dose to do so.
According to county data, 85.8 percent of all county residents had completed their initial vaccination series as of Monday.
For those who do get sick, Cody encouraged them to seek treatment as well as oral, over-the-counter medications like Paxlovid that can reduce the chance of developing severe illness.
Cody said she had no immediate plans to implement a new mask mandate or other COVID-related restrictions, but urged people to consider those who are more vulnerable to the virus when interacting with others.
“What I want to happen is for everyone to just understand where we are and understand that they are at risk because we’ve got a lot of virus circulating now, and it’s on its way up,” she said.