Santa Clara County reports new record of COVID cases, hospitalizations

Santa Clara County on Wednesday urged the community to adhere to COVID-19 health orders as the county continues to see a surge with record-setting daily new cases and hospitalizations reported ahead of Thanksgiving.

Cindy Chavez, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors said, "We are reaching a tipping point with COVID-19 numbers and we need to change course now.”

On Tuesday, the county recorded its highest individual new case count for a single day with 512 cases reported and saw its highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations of 213 patients, county officials said during a press conference. 

“The ability for our hospitals to care for the most critical patients is a critical concern when dealing with COVID-19,” said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, COVID-19 Testing Officer for the County of Santa Clara. “The more we protect ourselves and our families from COVID-19, the less likely we will be filling up hospital beds.”

A health worker performs a nasal swab sample at a COVID-19 rapid testing site.(Photo by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images).

Amid the holiday season, the county vowed to step up enforcement in making sure businesses are in compliance with COVID-19 health orders. 

Starting on Thursday and extending into the weekend, Santa Clara County health inspectors are performing double duty as enforcement officers are fining businesses for not following the rules. 

Some retailers are faced with the challenge of balancing good deals with good safety practices.

"Maximum capacity is key. On Black Friday we don't really know what the traffic is going to look like because we're a new store," said Bernardo Miranda of Faherty at Santana Row.

County officials are worried people will fall into their pre-COVID patterns of large holiday gatherings or crowding into stores. 

Grocery stores must limit capacity to 50%. Retail stores need to be at 25%. Those not complying will be fined.

The heightened code enforcement will go through Sunday.