Santa Clara County Health Department Report for April 23, 2020
Dear Elected and Public Officials,
We write to provide our latest evening update related to the County’s COVID-19 response efforts. Led by the unified efforts of the Bay Area, California as a state is seeing progress in flattening the curve. For instance, hospital readiness and surge capacity has advanced enough that Governor Newsom announced yesterday that the statewide Shelter in Place Order will now allow for resuming certain medical procedures and preventive care. Hospitals and health systems may soon schedule delayed medical care such as heart valve replacements, angioplasties, and tumor removals as well as key preventive care services such as colonoscopies. Of course, the implementation of these decisions will be made at the local level by public health officers and local hospitals.
Our efforts are working, but this does not mean that we are ready to make any big changes to what we are doing. Even though we have made great progress on hospital preparedness, yesterday was California’s deadliest day yet for COVID-19. As we start to head into a warm weekend, please continue to encourage your constituents to keep physical distancing. As residents seek fresh air and open spaces, we need to continue avoiding communal facilities and staying within our household units. If we do not, we will surely see our infection and death rates spike, erasing the good progress that we have made.
Clap for Essential Workers at 5 p.m. on Sunday
Health workers, first responders and all the other essential workers in our community are risking exposure to COVID-19 everyday so the rest of us can stay home and stay healthy. They deserve a very big - and very public - round of applause.
We can do this together. On Sunday, April 26, at 5 p.m., open a window or stand in front of your house and clap, cheer, ring a bell, or bang pots and pans together for two minutes to salute our police officers, fire fighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses, therapists and health workers, pharmacists, grocery workers, restaurant workers, postal workers, delivery drivers, and every other essential employee.
COVID-19 Cases in Santa Clara County
Today, the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department announced 1 new death from COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths to 95 in Santa Clara County. The County also reported 28 new cases, bringing our total number of confirmed cases to 1,987. That represents a 9.61% positivity rate across 21,064 total tests with 278 testing results pending.
There are currently 191 hospitalizations due to COVID-19 with 72 of those cases in ICUs. Countywide, there are 665 acute hospital beds, 105 ICU beds, and 1,617 surge beds available. There are 671 of 857 total ventilators available across all hospitals.
New Interactive Food Distribution Map
The City of San Jose has created a countywide interactive map of food distribution resources at http://bit.ly/SVStrongFood. There are also lists for youth under age 18 at http://bit.ly/svstrong-youth and for seniors age 60 and over at http://bit.ly/svstrong-senior.
County to Waive Penalties on Property Tax Payments
In light of the economic hit local residents are experiencing during the COVID-19 crisis, the Board of Supervisors voted this week to waive the 10% penalty and $20 fee on property tax payments that were due April 10, but paid late. The County will soon publicize the payment options available, including the County’s acceptance of partial payment of property taxes. Read the full proposal here.
Debt Relief for Student Loans and Garnishment
Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that 21 out of the 24 private student loan servicers have agreed to provide payment relief to borrowers. The CARES Act suspended monthly payments, interest, and involuntary collection activity until September 30, but only for loans owned by the U.S. government. This new announcement expands relief to students with a commercially owned Federal Family Education Loan or privately held student loans. Relief options include providing a minimum of 90 days forbearance, waiving late payment fees, ensuring that no borrower is subject to negative credit reporting, and helping eligible borrowers enroll in other assistance programs.
Governor Newsom also signed an executive order that exempts garnishment for any individuals receiving federal, state or local government financial assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes recovery rebates under the CARES Act and is retroactive for garnishments already made. Funds may still be garnished for child support, family support, spousal support, or criminal restitution for victims.
Nonprofit Connects Volunteer Errand Runners with Those in Need
Helping Hands is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving those most vulnerable to COVID-19: senior citizens, the immunocompromised, and people with pre-existing medical conditions that put them at additional risk. The platform connects at-risk community members with local volunteers for support with critical errands like grocery shopping or pharmacy visits, enabling them to stay home and stay safe. Learn more here.
Silicon Valley Clean Energy Customer Relief
Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) is committing $10 million to programs providing relief to customers and communities. The programs will include direct financial support for lower-income customers, resiliency improvements at community and emergency facilities, and supplemental training programs for electrical, plumbing and mechanical workers impacted by shelter-in-place orders. Learn more here.
PG&E and SVCE customers who have had recent changes in their finances or have lost their job, even if receiving unemployment benefits, may be eligible for a reduced energy rate through CARE and FERA programs. Residents can see if they qualify and apply here.
This article was written by Alyssa Lynch, Superintendent at Metropolitan Education District, which operates Silicon Valley Career Technical Education and Silicon Valley Adult Education. She has been a critical voice for Career Technical Education for 25 years.