Santa Clara County health officials confirm 2 new COVID-19 cases, 11 total in county

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Public health officials in Santa Clara County have confirmed two new cases of COVID-19, which now brings the total to 11 countywide. Both cases are still under investigation to determine the source of the transmission.

"Due to our almost daily increase in cases, the Public Health Department is issuing new guidance today to protect the health of vulnerable individuals," said County Health Officer, Dr. Sara Cody.

"We ask for the public's help in sharing these new recommendations, staying calm, and following prior guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control."

Officials now say the risk of severe illness begins to increase at age 50 for those who are infected with COVID-19. The highest risk group includes people ages 80 and older.

"We are recommend that people at higher risk avoid mass gatherings such as parades, sporting events and concerts where large numbers of people are within arm's length of one another," said Cody.

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In addition to the county, San Jose announced the opening of its emergency operations center Tuesday afternoon, ensuring that emergency and essential services will continue as more coronavirus cases are confirmed.

"Our plans are up to date, taking into account everything that we know about the virus and how it's emerging, and as the mayor indicated, we are ready to move to the next stage if and when we receive guidance if that's appropriate," said San Jose Deputy City Manager Kip Harkness.

In downtown San Jose, more than 120,000 people are expected to attend the Cinequest Film and Creativity Festival over the next two weeks. Organizers are moving forward with their event, but a small number of filmmakers who were scheduled to attend will be staying home.

"We're making sure that we don't have visitors coming in from high risk countries, their films will be here though and we're not having visitors come in from communities in the United States that might be at risk either such as Washington," said Halfdan Hussey, Cinequest CEO and Co-Founder.

While concerns grow over coronavirus, businesses like Loft Bar and Bistro hope customers will still show their support.

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"You gotta get out. You can't just stay home because of the virus," said Loft manager Adrian Mullen. "Take your precautions, but understand one thing: life goes on."

City and county officials are urging the public not to panic.

"We have to have measured responses that are based on facts," said Santa Clara County Executive Jeff Smith.

"Those facts and figures come from the feds and the state and we're trying to stay consistent with those."

County officials are also urging organizations that primarily serve seniors to cancel mass gatherings such as bingo nights or movie screenings.

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