SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) — Amid the worst outbreak of the coronavirus in the San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody on Tuesday offered some words of hope to local residents.

The county reported the Bay Area’s first positive case of the virus in January, an illness related to travel from China, but then it crept into the local community and began to spread.


On Tuesday, officials said they have had 890 confirmed cases with 30 deaths. But just 24 hours after announcing a staggering 202 new cases — a surge that was the result of slowness in the reporting system — Cody said she was seeing evidence that social distancing was beginning to work.

To help that along, county officials announced tough new shelter-in-place standards on Tuesday and joined other Bay Area counties in extending the current lockdown order until May 3rd.

“If you look at the dashboard (of the county’s cases) … you’ll notice that the number of cases is bouncing around a lot,” she said. “Partially, that has to do with what’s happening and partially is due to the way cases come in.”

“What I can tell you though once we account for all those variables — maybe in the last day or two — we are seeing a little bit of slowing,” she added. “I say that very, very cautiously. It’s really, really early and as [county health executive] Dr. [Jeffrey] Smith mentioned it’s going to take us more time to see the impact of social distancing.”

Cody said her team has been gathering a cross section of experts from local universities and the Silicon Valley tech industry to help with determining the trend of the outbreak.

“Everyone we can bring in — they are helping us, eager to help us to really understand what the trends are looking like,” she said. “So I want to say that the incredible sacrifice that everyone has made is starting to bend the curve, but it’s not enough or has not been in place long enough. We have to keep at it. I believe it is beginning to make a difference and is giving our hospitals more time.”

When it comes to the county’s 11 hospitals, Smith gave reporters a snapshot of where the outbreak stood as of noon on Tuesday.

He said there were currently 152 individuals in the hospitals with confirmed coronavirus infections. Another 90 patients were awaiting test results. Combined the hospitals have 611 ventilators with just 209 of those in use. There were 300 ICU beds in the hospitals combined with 119 of those still available.