Santa Clara County reports highest COVID-19 daily case count since pandemic began

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- As the Bay Area prepares for a Thanksgiving unlike any other before, Santa Clara County leaders are urging strict compliance with its health orders amidst new highs in COVID-19 case counts and hospitalization rates.

"Do not have gatherings and do not travel," said county counsel James Williams. "We're extremely concerned about hospitals' ability to care for not only people with COVID-19 but for other people who need access to care in our hospitals."

On Wednesday, 512 new cases of COVID-19 were reported countywide, which is a new record for the highest daily case count since the start of the pandemic. The county also saw its highest daily number of COVID-19 hospitalizations at 197 patients.

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Health experts are strongly recommending people avoid gathering with friends and extended family for Thanksgiving dinner and using data to back that up.

"Perhaps up to 60% of the times when people are infecting others, or are infectious themselves, they have absolutely no symptoms," said the county's COVID-19 testing officer, Dr. Marty Fenstersheib.

Stanford Hospital is ready to implement its surge plan if ICU rates continue to rise. Officials there say they can add 50 to 100 additional beds by reconfiguring various sections of the campus. They're also cautioning that getting a COVID-19 test can provide a false sense of security, since it only provides a snapshot in time.

"I feel as though for those people who just can't resist getting together, that there will be significant consequences," said Dr. Andra Blomkalns, chair of Stanford's emergency medicine department. "If there's ever a time to shop online during Black Friday, this is the year to do it."

With Black Friday shopping on the horizon, county compliance officers are ramping up enforcement through the weekend with backup from the Santa Clara County Fire Department.

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"We'll be looking at capacity limitations, making sure that stores aren't overcrowded, making sure that those social distancing protocols, (and) that orange checkmark has been posted, and that the business is committed to doing the right thing," said Michael Balliet, director of the Santa Clara County Emergency Operations Center.

Officials are asking the community to do its part to help reduce the spread.

"Those little actions combined will help this county again be the resilient county it has been and get through this pandemic," said Tony Bowden, county fire chief.

COVID-19 RISK CALCULATOR: The safest and most dangerous things to do this holiday season

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