COVID-19 Projected to be Third Leading Cause of Death for Santa Clara County Residents in 2020


December 23, 2020

Total pandemic deaths exceeded 600 this week, serving as a grim reminder of the dangers of gathering over the holidays

Santa Clara County, CA – COVID-19 is projected to be the third leading cause of death in Santa Clara County this year, behind only cancer and heart disease. The data were released by health officials as the county passed a grim milestone this week with 632 cumulative deaths reported to date. 

“Tragically, these are 632 families who are grieving this holiday season. Let’s not forget the countless others who have loved ones in the hospital, and the healthcare workers trying to keep them alive as we speak,” said Cindy Chavez, President of the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. “A simple family meal may seem harmless until it is too late. Please protect the ones you love by staying home and staying safe.”

In mid-November, a week before Thanksgiving, an average of three people died per day due to COVID-19. A month later, that average increased to nearly six people per day. The county’s seven-day average positivity rate as of December 13 was 7.7 percent, the highest since the pandemic began in March. That’s compared to 3.4 percent on November 19, one week before Thanksgiving Day, and 1.3 percent on May 27.

“This is not the data any of us wanted to share but it is the reality of where we are in this pandemic,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer for the County of Santa Clara. “The numbers do not lie. We have now seen how Thanksgiving gatherings fueled the spread of the virus and we must slow it down now before it completely overwhelms our health systems. We are nearly at the breaking point.”

As the holiday season continues, with Christmas and the New Year approaching, County health officials remind all residents to do their part by wearing face coverings and avoiding gatherings with those outside of the household. Everyone should be staying at home, avoiding all non-essential activities, and should not travel.

County officials held a media session on this topic on December 23, 2020 and it will be available on the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department Facebook page.

More information can also be found on the County’s data dashboard.

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