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COVID-19 Cases in Santa Clara County Reach 100,000, Nearly One Year After First Case was Confirmed; Vaccination Ramp-Up Continues Despite Limited Supplies

As the one-year mark since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Santa Clara County approaches on Sunday, another unfortunate milestone has been surpassed: yesterday, the case count for the county topped the 100,000 mark.

Ongoing vaccination efforts offer hope and are rapidly expanding, even as vaccine supplies remain limited.  As of January 28, at least 185,535 doses of vaccine had been administered in Santa Clara County, including 147,838 first doses and 37,697 second doses.

“The County and other vaccine providers have made substantial progress in vaccinating our residents age 75 and older, the group faces the very highest risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19,” said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine Officer for the County of Santa Clara. “As we move forward in the vaccination process, equity continues to be a top priority and the County is committed to ensuring access to vaccines for our most impacted communities through a number of different strategies.”

The County Health System, which serves many of the highest need, highest risk populations in the community continues to expand its efforts.  The County is also partnering with community-based organizations to get information, testing, and vaccinations into the hardest-hit communities. This week, partner Gardner Health Services opened the first drop-in vaccination site for healthcare workers and anybody aged 65 or older at the Mexican Heritage Plaza in East San José.

To date, healthcare providers in the County have received a total of 281,578 vaccine doses. There are more than 58,000 vaccination appointments scheduled in the County in next seven days. Vaccine supplies remain the top concern, even as the County continues to ramp up capacity and build the infrastructure needed to vaccinate all residents age 16 and older as soon as possible. The County is also awaiting clarity and information from the State of California following this week’s announcement of a shift in strategy toward a “third-party administrator” for COVID-19 vaccine distribution statewide, and modifying its criteria for who should be vaccinated in what order. Despite these challenges, vaccine providers have continued to make steady progress in vaccinating residents.

“Santa Clara County continues to lead the way in vaccinating residents, despite challenges with supply and other complexities,” said Dr. Jennifer Tong, Associate Chief Medical Officer for Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. “Our County Health System and other healthcare system partners have risen to the occasion, and our vaccine delivery infrastructure is strong.”

The County Health System is operating three mass vaccination sites and multiple clinic locations, as well as a mobile vaccine clinic focused on long-term care facilities like nursing homes. The County continues to explore new options for mass vaccination sites and community-based locations, many in partnership with other entities.

Ensuring equitable and efficient distribution of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is one of the most critical tools in combating the pandemic, but it will take some time for our community to reach a sufficient level of protection. “Everybody needs to keep masking, keep distancing, keep testing, and get vaccinated when it is your turn,” said Dr. Fenstersheib. “Check with your provider, see if you are eligible, and sign up for a shot. These are the tools we have to steer the course out of this pandemic.”

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