Dr. Sara Cody thanks residents 2 years into COVID pandemic, says following protocols saved lives

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Two years ago, Santa Clara County Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody and other Bay Area public health officials announced the shelter in place orders due to the rise of coronavirus.

Thursday, Dr. Cody spoke of optimism for the future, thanks to the hard work of the community.

"On behalf of the county, I just wanted to really, really thank everyone," Dr. Cody said.

She says our efforts saved thousands of lives.

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The state's death rate average was two times more than Santa Clara County's, and the nation's was 2.5 times more.

Cody attributes Santa Clara County's success to high vaccination rates and regulations the county deployed, no matter how much they were criticized.

"We have lost 2,180 people in our community to COVID to date, but without the collective efforts that we all have made, we would've lost many more," Dr. Cody said.

But, the pandemic isn't over.

The new highly transmissible BA.2 variant is spreading and showing up more in the North County's wastewater surveillance system than in other parts of Santa Clara County.

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Cody says cases are still stable or declining, and she is not anticipating new mandates at this time.

"How we collectively, in our community or in the Bay Area, behave will have a lot to do whether or not another variant takes off or not," Dr. Cody said.

Cody also called on private healthcare providers to keep doing their part, by continuing to offer vaccination and testing during future surges.

She then called on the federal government to bring back COVID funding that she says has fallen apart.

"I think we all need to hope that some funding gets back on track," Dr. Cody said. "We need it for vaccines, tests, treatment and we need it for basic infrastructure for local public health."

RELATED: Santa Clara Co. loosens health orders, drops indoor masking and booster mandates

The county has learned a lot over the past two years and thinks those lessons can still help going forward.

Cody encourages all of us to have tests and masks available in case we need them again.

But for now, she's optimistic about where we are.

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